Philippines Coast Guard’s most modern ship to arrive in February 2020

The Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) newest and largest offshore patrol vessel (OPV) is now officially under the ownership of the country after it flew the Philippine flag for the first time on Thursday. French Shipbuilding OCEA formally turned over the vessel to the PCG in a ceremony held in Saint Nazaire on December 18.

Philippines Coast Guards most modern ship to arrive in February 2020 925 001 The BRP Gabriela Silang during the Change of Flag Ceremony for the Philippine Coast Guard vessel in France on Thursday (Picture source: PCG)

In a Facebook post on Friday, the PCG said the 83-meter BRP Gabriela Silang, which was built by French shipbuilder OCEA, had its Change of Flag Ceremony that was led by Philippine Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa Lazaro.

“Ambassador Lazaro represented the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and the PCG in the historic event, which marks the first time the OPV will be flying the national flag, and will now be under the official ownership of the Republic of the Philippines,” the post read.

Also present in the historic event were the 35 PCG personnel and crew who will operate the vessel and will bring it home to the Philippines.

The ship, which will officially be commissioned to the PCG as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gabriela Silang, will depart France on December 30 and is set to arrive in Manila on February 10, 2020.

The very versatile OCEA OPV 270 is designed to carry out all maritime security and safety missions under the responsibility of the Coast Guard in the waters of the Philippine archipelago. It can conduct Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance operations, smuggling and illegal immigration control, anti-piracy and anti-trafficking missions, search & rescue, natural resources and blue economy protection, anti-pollution activities, diving operations and sovereignty missions.

Powered by twin MTU 16V 4000 M73 diesel engines, Gabriela Silang has a contractual maximum speed of 22 kt and a range of 8,000 n miles at 12 kt.

The OPV can accommodate a crew of 40, with 26 additional spaces for mission-specific crew. It can also take up to 35 evacuees when accommodated in more austere conditions. With its core crew, the vessel has an endurance of five weeks.

OCEA specializes in aluminium ships. The use of aluminium has a positive impact on the through-life support of the vessel (no rust compared to steel vessels). Another advantage is that aluminium is lighter than steel, which reduces fuel consumption.

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