MANILA— The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has inked a deal Wednesday afternoon with a French shipbuilding firm for the acquisition of five shipping vessels for maritime security.
The contract effectiveness agreement was signed by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Maritime Felipe Judan and OCEA director of maritime safety and security Fabrice Weinbach and witnessed by Secretary Arthur Tugade and French Embassy representative Laurent Estrade.
The signing paved the way for the implementation of the Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development Project. It also marks the first major vessel acquisition for the PCG under the Duterte administration.
The project involves the supply, delivery and maintenance of four brand new 24 meter fast patrol boats (FPB) and one 84 meter offshore patrol vessels (OPV) to be purchased by the DOTr for the use of the Coast Guard.
“The acquisition of the vessels will enhance the capability of the PCG in performing its functions on maritime security, safety, maritime search and rescue, marine environmental protection as well as offshore patrol of the country’s exclusive economic zone,” DOTr Assistant Secretary for Maritime Lino Dabi said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.
He said the sea vessels may be deployed to deter piracy incidents in southern Mindanao and defend the country’s territorial claims over the West Philippine Sea.
The French government has provided a loan worth 97.03 million euros through Official Development Assistance (ODA) using the remaining balance of the Greater Maritime Access (GMA) RoRo Port Projects of the Arroyo administration.
Under the agreement, supply of goods shall be made within 23 consecutive months with its first delivery to be made on the first quarter of 2018. This will involve the provision of four FPB 72 and 1 OPV 270.
The contract for the purchase of the sea vessels was signed on September 9, 2014 with OCEA and the then DOTC.
With the signing of the contract effectiveness agreement, this means that certain conditions precedent for the coming into full force and effect of the contract has already been completed.