|The ill-fated passenger ferry MV St. Thomas Aquinas. The ship is probably even larger than the PN's specified Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV).|
Photo taken from Shipspotting.com c/o Bermejo Imaging.
|The cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, with its bow damaged.|
Photo taken from Reuters.
The Philippine Navy's current transport ship project, the Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV), as well as the currently on-hold Multi-role Vessel (MRV) project, as well as the passenger ferry MV St. Thomas Aquinas are all designed and built/to be built using commercial shipbuilding standards.
|The damaged bow of the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete.|
Photo taken from Associated Press.
The SSV will probably be built according to commercial standards due to the need to drive down costs and fit the allocated budget. The current SSV project budget is Php 2 billion per ship, and will probably cost even less depending on the winning bidder. As compared to similar-sized LPDs, which cost thrice or more to build such using naval shipbuilding standards, which are constructed to ensure high survivability in combat and ability for the ship's structure to survive impacts and attacks. It is worth mentioning that the original SSV project actually involves the purchase of a used Japanese Ro-Ro ferry very similar to the ill-fated MV St. Thomas Aquinas (as discussed here).
|The initial Strategic Sealift Vessel project was actually based on a Japanese passenger Ro-Ro ferry very similar to the ill-fated MV St. Thomas Aquinas.|
Photo taken from MarineTraffic.com.
As an example: the Indonesian Navy's Makassar-class LPD and Royal New Zealand Navy's HMNZS Canterbury (L421) are all based from commercial car ferry designs, and it is highly probably that the SSV will also be based on such platform. Daewoo International / Dae Sun Shipbuilding of South Korea and PT PAL of Indonesia, both builders of the Makassar-class LPD, are both vying to win the contract for the PN's SSV project (and probably the MRV project should it proceed in the future) using a derivative of the Makassar-class LPD.
|PT PAL's SSV proposal for the Philippine Navy is actually a derivative of the car ferry-based Makassar-class LPD.|
As a military transport, the SSV is projected to be used to transport the Philippine Marine Corps' expeditionary forces in combat conditions, and is expected to be targeted by opposing forces. It is expected that the ship would have a far greater threat parameters than a standard merchant vessel. But the SSV, like any normal sea vessel, must also survive accident impacts unlike what happened to MV St. Thomas Aquinas, which just plunged to the bottom of the Cebu Strait immediately after impact. It must be capable of surviving even after serious flooding of several compartments, enough for it to still move away from danger and keep its passengers and crew safe.
|Indonesian Marinir (Marines) troops and tanks for transport using the TNI-AL's Makassar-class LPD. The Philippine Marine Corps will use the SSV in the same manner, including in combat conditions when necessary.|