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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Discussing the planned acquisition of 94-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard

In this specific blog entry, we invited one of our contributors, who gives special focus on projects of the Philippine Coast Guard, to write on behalf of MaxDefense Philippines. We would like to thank our contributor and MaxDefense community member "Herbie" for making this effort. Herbie has been following the Philippine defense, modernization, and asset acquisition for more than a decade, and has been a MaxDefense community member for almost 6 years.

In our more than 6 years of operation, Herbie would be our third guest writer to have posted an original entry with MaxDefense Philippines, as we continue to widen our base aside from the page's sole editor, Max Montero.


To improve the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in responding to offshore and coastal maritime incidents such as Search and Rescue (SAR), Maritime Law Enforcement (MARLEN), Maritime Security (MARSEC) operations, the PCG requested the acquisition of two (2) 94 meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRV) as part of the PCG's Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) Phase II program.

The Japan Coast Guard Kunigami-class patrol vessel Ikema (PL-86).
Photo for reference only, taken from J-Hangarspace website.


The requirement for MRRVs was first published in the document “RA008-02: Formulating a National Transport Plan” that dates back to March 2010. 

It was commissioned by the Philippines – Australia Partnership for Economic Governance Reforms (PEGR) group and was initiated by the Australian Government. It stated that the Philippine Government work for the “Development of maritime disaster response capabilities.” The indicator to achieve this objective is a target of  acquiring twelve (12) “Maritime Disaster Response Vessels”.

Contrary to beliefs that the MRRV project was a Japanese initiative, it was actually the collaboration by the Philippine government and the Australian government that made way to the idea of acquiring such vessels.
Photo taken fro AusAID website.

Also, the same MRRV requirement was stated more clearly in one of the early documents made available to the public, in this case the July 2011 commitment plan of the Philippines to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Counter-Terrorism Action Plan

It stated a ”Need to acquire the following surface assets: two (2) 100-meter high endurance vessels” among other PCG requirements stated. 

By 2013, the former Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) detailed a plan for the “Acquisition of two- 92-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels”.

This report from the former DOTC indicated the requirement for the "Acquisition of two 92-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels. Photo taken from the former DOTC website.

By November 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a Note Verbale transmitting the Government of the Philippines (GOP)’s official request to secure loan financing from the Government of Japan.  

From January to February 2016, JICA’s Feasibility Study Review and Appraisal Mission were dispatched and made a report in the link.

The planned deployment of the 94-meter MRRV as indicated in the Japan MOFA's case study on the request for funding assistance submitted by the Philippine government. Photo taken from Japan MOFA's website.

During a June 2016 NEDA-ICC review, the title, technical specifications, cost and implementation period of the project following the appraisals by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Among the changes were:

*  The adjustment of the total length from 92 meters to 94 meters
* Amount of funding required from US$89.73 million to US$142.85 million 

On September 2016, the NEDA Board finally approved the project. And finally on October 2016, the GOP and the GOJ signed a JICA Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan Agreement, specifically a STEP loan during Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Japan. 

The Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) was applied to the project in the agreement that was signed, and it was expected that only Japanese shipbuilding technologies will be utilized. During the October 2016 signing, the project was targeted to be completed on June 2021.

The terms of the STEP loan are first they are required to use the service of Japanese companies. Payable in 40 years, the loan amount is JPY16.455 Billion with an annual interest of 0.1. The bonus is that the loan has a grace period of 10 years.

Project Implementation:

There are two contracts for this project:
First is the Consulting Services for the construction of the vessels which was awarded on 28 September 2018 and the Notice to Proceed (NTP) was issued on 09 November 2018. 

In this project, the Joint Venture of Japan Marine Science and PADECO Co. Ltd. won the contract. This contract was delayed due to the slow procurement process of the Philippine Department of Transportation (DOTr, which replaced the DOTC after the government decided to separate the scope of communications from the agency).  

The second project is the Vessel Construction contract which is due for bidding sometime between June to November 2019. 

As of June 2019, target completion of the two vessels are now March 2020 and June 2020. Japan Marine United Corp, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. are the shortlisted shipbuilding firms for this contract. The latest scheduled Pre-bid meeting is scheduled on 10 July 2019.

Being a Japanese-funded and built class of ships, it is expected that the model will be based on an existing proven design used by the Japan Coast Guard, like the Kunigami-class (above). Credits to original source of the above photo.

Technical Requirements:
Based on the design created for this project, these are some of the basic specifications of the ships:

* Overall Length: about 94 meters
* Length, waterlines: about 87.50 meters
* Breadth, moulded: about 11.5 meters
* Designed load draft, moulded: about 4 meters
* Speed: Not less than 24 knots maximum, 12-18 knots cruising
* Range: Not less than 4,000 nautical miles @ 12 knots
* Endurance: Not less than 15 days
* Crew: 67  
* Survivor capacity: 36
* Engine: 2 x 6,600kW diesel engines, with option to fit slow-speed electric drive for fuel savings
* RHIB/FRP: 2 units 8 meter boats lowered by davit cranes
* Gross tonnage(as per International Tonnage, 1969): about 2,300 tons

Photo taken from Technical Requirements of the 94-meter MRRV project as indicated in the Bid Documents.

To ensure the possibility of day and night helicopter operations, the vessel should be equipped with a helicopter landing deck platform, hangar, landing aids and associated equipment. Vessel and helicopter launching and recovery facilities shall be designed and supplied to allow for helicopter operations up to sea state 4 (WMO sea states) in Philippine sea areas.

The helicopter landing deck platform, associated equipment and landing aids may be designed using Japanese Coast Guard norms and standards similar or equivalent to the standards used for the PCG’s offshore patrol vessel. 

Ship-helicopter interface compatibility must be taken into consideration. Helicopter recovery assist, secure and traverse equipment required for safe and efficient helicopter operations to include equipment for; communications, approach, hover, landing/take-off, traversing and stowing shall be provided.

Helicopter landing deck with hangar shall be arranged aft part of the Vessel. The following helicopters shall be considered for the design of helideck strength, helideck fittings, helicopter stowing, refueling, electrical, firefighting equipment, associated equipment and landing aids, etc. 

As a minimum, design load of helideck platform and hangar should be able to accommodate the maximum-take-off weight of the heavier helicopter listed below with a margin for heavy landing conditions/ factor of safety:

1) Airbus EC145 T2
2) Sikorsky S-76C
3) AgustaWestland AW139
4) Bell 412EP

Helicopter hangar shall be designed as to safely store and lash the one EC145 Eurocopter through manual operations, with applicable safety regulations.

The PCG has an order for two (2) Airbus Helicopters EC145 T2 (H125) twin-engine helicopters and are scheduled to arrive soon. The PCG is also eyeing the acquisition of larger helicopters and is said to looking at the AgustaWestland AW139. Credits to original source of the photo.

The vessel shall be so designed and equipped to be able to safely tow another vessel of at least similar size or weight. Towing capacity shall be modeled after the existing similar-type JCG vessels.

The vessel will have:
* Anti-Rolling Devices: Anti-Rolling Tank-Passive type Anti-Rolling tank shall be provided. 

* Fin Stabilizer- A fixed type (non-retractable) fin stabilizer shall be provided at engine room.

A Fixed diving platform shall be provided at stern above full load line. An ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) system shall be provided.

Updated Specifications:

Based on the latest bid documents for the Vessel Construction Project, the latest 94-Meter MRRV Technical Specifications are:

It now specifically mentioned the Kunigami model, which is the Japan Coast Guard's Kunigami-class large patrol vessel. The JCG has eighteen (18) such ships and is considered a proven design.
It now remains to be seen who will be selected to build the ships for the PCG. It is also worth noting that all three interested proponents Japan Marine United, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Shipbuilding and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding all had experience in building the Kunigami-class for the JCG between 2011 to 2017.

Some photos of Kunigami-class large patrol vessels of the JCG. Credits to original sources of the photos.

Project Summary:

94-meter Multi-Role Response Vessel Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 06 July 2019:

* End User: Philippine Coast Guard

* Quantity: 2 nos.

* Project ABC: TBA

* Acquisition Mode: Limited Source Bidding

* Source of Funding: Official Development Assistance (ODA) by Japan JICA

* SARO Release: TBA

* Winning Proponent: TBA

* Product for Delivery: 2 nos. Kunigami-class 94-meter patrol vessel

* Contract Price: TBA

* First post by MaxDefense: TBA

* Searching Hashtag: #PCG94mMRRV

* Status: pre-bidding process ongoing, limited source bidding expected to start sometime between July to November 2019.

This project will be updated later on thorough our MaxDefense AFP & PCG Modernization Resource Portal, considering that this project is now moving is just awaiting for the Bidding process to be completed on or before November 2019.


First edit and release: 06 July 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines & "Herbie"


  1. When will the Philippine government seriously consider building more of its own large navy and coast guard vessels locally? Why does it seem like Filipinos don't even want to learn how? It's as if the government does not even want to find a good use for the shipyard formerly owned by Hanjin, that would employ Filipinos and advance naval STEM industries in its own country?

  2. are they planning to install defensive armaments on this?


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