22 February 2014

French Vessel Set to Boost Phil. Navy

La Tapageuse Vessel
The country may be no match when fared against the military might of China, but it can't be faulted for trying its best to stand-up against its 'bullying tactics'.

A few days after President Benigno Aquino III inaugurated the Philippine Navy ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz at the Subic Freeport Zone in Olongapo City, the government announced that it is finalizing the deal in purchasing a surplus French Navy vessel. Both acquisition is in line with efforts to strengthen the country's presence in the West Philippine Sea.

The reported 26-year-old "La Tapageuse" vessel will likely be the first of several French ships that will be acquired by the Philippine coastguard as it contends with increasingly assertive Chinese forces. The 54.8-meter patrol ship will cost 6 million euros (US$ 7.97 million) and is due to arrive in the country by April next year.

The ship, which is armed with two cannons and two machine-guns, was inspected before acquisition and is good for 20 more years of service, the coastguard said.

"This French vessel is multi-functional, and it would be a major contribution to our fleet, particularly in our search and rescue operations," coastguard chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena was quoted as saying in the statement.

The Philippines is also "finalizing" with the French government the purchase of four brand-new 24-meter multipurpose vessels and one 82-meter multipurpose vessel, Mr. Isorena said.

These new ships would arrive in the first quarter of 2015, the statement added, without specifying their cost.

Mr. Isorena also recalled that the Philippine coastguard was already set to acquire 10 multi-role patrol boats under an aid program with Japan.