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Philippine Coast Guard commissions 84 m offshore patrol vessel

        Gabriela Silang
        , seen here during its preliminary sea trials in October 2019.

BRP Gabriela Silang , seen here during its preliminary sea trials in October 2019. (OCEA)

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has commissioned a French-built 84 m offshore patrol vessel (OPV).

The vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang (8301), was commissioned on 13 April in a low-key ceremony attended by PCG commandant, Admiral Joel Garcia, and Philippine Transportation Secretary, Arthur Tugade. Gabriela Silang has been designated as the PCG’s flagship.

The OPV arrived in Manila Bay on 7 April. It was launched by French shipbuilder OCEA at Les Sables d’Olonne, France in July 2019 and handed over to the PCG in December the same year.

Gabriela Silang is the fifth and final vessel ordered under a EUR90 million (USD99 million) contract signed between the Philippine government and OCEA. Delivery of four other vessels in the contract – the 24 m FPB 72 Mk II patrol boats BRP Boracay , BRP Panglao , BRP Malamawi , and BRP Kalanggaman – was completed in 2018.

The OPV is powered by twin MTU 16V 4000 M73 diesel engines, and has a contractual maximum speed of 22 kt with a range of 8,000 n miles at 12 kt. It can accommodate a crew of 40, with additional bunks for up to 26 mission-specific personnel.

The OPV can embark a 5-tonne-class helicopter, and two telescopic cranes that can launch and recover 9.2 m rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). The vessel is unarmed but there are plans to eventually procure weapon systems for the OPV. In the meantime, the vessel’s crew will rely on hand-carried, small-calibre weapons for self-defence.

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