The BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) of the Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard recently experienced unprecedented growth in its fleet, so much so that it saw a significant increase in the number of ships that are being commissioned in its fleet, especially with these vessels produced and originated from these two countries, naming France and Japan.

Speaking of Japan, it is now currently building the largest ship that the Philippine Coast Guard will soon be operating, and it will surpass the current flagship that the agency has in its fleet.

The MRRV-9701 before launch. This is now named the
BRP Teresa Magbanua.
Image Source.

Just last July 26, 2021, the Philippine Coast Guard's newest and largest vessel that will be delivered to its fleet was just launched from Japan's Mitsubishi Shipbuilding facility in Shimonoseki Shipyard in the City of the same name, Yamaguchi Prefecture, situated in the country's Southwestern portion of its main island of Honshu.

This is one of the two 97-meter Multirole Response Vessels or MRRVs that the Philippine Coast Guard ordered from Japan, which was done through the help of aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA, wherein these vessels, aside from the ten (10) units that comprise the Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels, will be transacted through a soft loan via Japan's Official Development Assistance or ODA.

Given its size, it is said that it will surpass the currently largest white-hulled ship on the Philippine Coast Guard, which is the French-made BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), an 84-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel made by the shipbuilder OCEA and currently serves as one of the largest aluminum-hulled vessels in service and also a stepping stone for the agency that will allow them to operate larger vessels like the one we featured in this article.

As we discussed before on this website, the warship's design was based on the Kunigami-class ships that are currently in service with the Japan Coast Guard, with minor variations in the specifications and the dimensions provided that will be discussed in detail along in this article, as we give information on those variations that define these Multirole Response Vessels that are being built for the Philippine Coast Guard.

In this topic, we are providing additional information and updated details about this big-ticket project of the Philippine Coast Guard, as adding two more large ships to their fleet is considered a highly significant investment for the agency to have, especially now that additional patrols of the country's maritime coastline and enforcement of the country's Maritime Domain Awareness are needed.

A Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Japan Coast Guard.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Before discussing the updates involving this new warship that the Philippine Coast Guard will be having, it is worth recalling and getting an overview from a previously written article about this acquisition project of the agency for the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels, in which this was written in full in this article entitled "Knowing the Soon-to-Have Kunigami-class Multirole Response Vessels of the Phil. Coast Guard", written April 12, 2020.

In the stated article, it was discussed the history of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a company, wherein it started back when Japan experienced its industrial transformation,  with the establishment of its own shipyard in 1857 and since then helped Mitsubishi improved its expertise in the local shipbuilding business, helping Japan built its military and civilian vessels, which include Coast Guard vessels like the Kunigami-class.

It was also discussed about the Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessels served in the Japan Coast Guard, wherein this was commissioned into their fleet way back in 2012 with 18 ships were built by multiple Japanese shipbuilding companies, including Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, the entity responsible for the modification and construction of an enhanced variant derived from the original Kunigami-class intended for the Philippine Coast Guard.

Completing the article, the procurement of the Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels was briefly discussed, given that both the 44-meter Parola-class and the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels were all funded under the Japanese Official Development Assistance or ODA, wherein it is a soft loan that the Philippine government will be paying at a payable through a certain time period as discussed by both sides before the implementation of both acquisition projects for the Philippine Coast Guard.

This gesture made by the Japanese in providing both the Parola-class and the 94-meter Multirole Response Vessel, as well as their reputation in building capable ships for both civilian and military uses, makes the Philippine Coast Guard a more capable beneficiary that will have these badly-needed white-hulled vessels, especially at these dire times that China is flexing its large Coast Guard Vessels big time in the West Philippine Sea.

The project profile of the larger Japanese Multirole Response Vessels. From PCG/JICA.

The larger, 94-meter Multirole Response Vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard is considered part of the greater Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard, wherein the 10-unit, 44-meter long Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels were included and funded under this project, visualized in Phase 1 of the project as opposed to the Phase 2 of the project.

Comparing the project profile from the partial specifications provided in our previous article, there is not much of a change between the two, with the notable exception of its length that increased to 96.6 meters (rounded to 97 meters) from the original length of 94 meters, and a significant increase in the personnel complement, now with the combined number of officers and crew of around 67 people as opposed from the original's 57 people.

The rest of the specifications are retained from the original one, although additional information has been provided in the project profile that is not available from the original one, like the sea state survivability of the ship's hull that is capable of operating in the roughest waters that takes place in the high seas, notably the Sea States 6 and 7, the same ones that a capable ship like the Jose Rizal-class Frigates will take (although some reports indicate that it will take up to Sea State 5).

Other information provided in the project profile is the loan amount, contract cost for consulting services, and contract for shipbuilding purposes, amounting to Php 7,557,057,981.88; Php 170,086,389.41; and Php 6,682,175,243.78; respectively, all of which were converted from Japanese Yen to Philippine Peso as of August 20, 2021, with the exchange rate of Php 1.00 = JPY 2.18.

To wrap this up, Japan's Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. has provided some of the welcoming tweaks in the project, making it a bit longer than the initial design and even the original design that made Japan Coast Guard's Kunigami-class Offshore Patrol Vessels, as well as the capability of carrying more people on board, particularly on its added capacity of taking 36 survivors that is essential for it as a rescue vessel platform.


Since the entry of the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) in the Philippine Coast Guard's white-hulled fleet as an active vessel, the maritime enforcement organization practiced the use of female heroines in naming their large vessels, such as the lead ship of the Philippine Coast Guard seen above with a name engraved on her stern, determining that the ship is the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), the lead ship of the Magbauna-class Multirole Response Vessels.

The first Japanese-made 97-meter ship produced for the Philippine Coast Guard, to provide some glimpse of the history of its naming, was named after a revolutionary hailed in Iloilo province named Teresa Magbanua, born October 13, 1868, as a daughter of Don Juan Magbanua, a judge who sat on the Court Instance of Iloilo City, and Doña Alejandro Ferraris, the daughter of Captain Benito Ferraris.

She was known as the "Visayan Joan of Arc" when she rallied her troops on horseback against the Spanish forces at the Battle of Barrio Yoting, situated in Pilar, Capiz, resulting in her force's victorious fight as part of her contributions to the revolution that took place in Iloilo province under her uncle, Major General Perfecto Poblador, and the Katipunan revolutionary army of Iloilo during those times.

Her contribution to the revolutionary is also clearly shown in the Philippine-American war and eventually against the Japanese occupation in the Philippines, wherein she joined her brothers that were ranking officers at that time in defending Iloilo province against the Americans at that time, while indirectly fighting the Japanese in her later life through her support to local guerillas by selling her personal belongings for their food and supplies.

With her act of gallantry against all three foreign occupiers of the Philippines during her time, putting her name in a Philippine Coast Guard ship is one of the ways to give her credit and respect in support for the country's independence,  alongside other heroines like Gabriela Silang and Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino, a name that will be engraved and given to the second Japanese-made 97-meter ship.

The name of the ship, engraved in its stern. Image Source.

The Philippine Coast Guard is now in its full-throttle in modernizing its white-hulled fleet, as the country sees the demand in having more vessels of its type increasing with the ever-increasing importance of the country's maritime enforcement on its territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone waters, emphasizing the need of improving the country's Maritime Domain Awareness.

In the case of BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), its recent launch shows a recent example of the great transformation that the Philippine Coast Guard is currently undertaking, a renaissance of sorts that the maritime organization under the Department of Transportation or DOTr is getting that its fleet is becoming more capable than ever, in terms of obtaining such large vessels that can patrol high seas at a longer time allowed.

Take note that the Philippine Coast Guard will have two units of Magbanua-class Multirole Response Vessels coming from Japan, going alongside ten (10) 44-meter Parola-class Multirole Response Vessels, forming the complete assistance package that the Japanese government, through JICA, have provided for these acquisition projects to be materialized, which will be paid through a soft loan as agreed under the terms of the Japanese Overseas Development Assistance loan or ODA.

The possibility of having more of such white-hulled vessels in the future will not be far, as the Philippine Coast Guard is still working on its process for modernization, with projects such as the installation of Coastal Radar Stations across the waters of Visayas and Mindanao are also on their way its completion that will cover significant coastal areas that improve Maritime Domain Awareness in the process.

With these developments coming on their way and is on full implementation, things are very hopeful for the Philippine Coast Guard as it grows larger as an organization in terms of manpower, facilities, and the number of vessels that it acquired and integrate into its fleet, as more developments about it will be expected to be discussed across defense circles along with its resolve of showing its presence in highly-contested waters.

(c) 2021 PDA.

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