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PCG deploys newest vessel to Indonesia for marine pollution response

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday deployed its newest and largest multi-response vessel, BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), for its first-ever mission in Indonesia next week.

In a statement, PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said the MRRV-9701 will participate in the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2022 which will be jointly conducted between the PCG, Directorate of Sea Transportation (DGST) of the Republic of Indonesia, and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) in the vicinity waters off Makassar, Indonesia from May 22 to 29, 2022.

Abu said the exercise aims to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the Sulawesi Sea Oil Spill Response Network Plan and the current procedures of the Oil Spill Recovery and Response Capability of Indonesia and the Philippines.

“They will also enhance cooperation and capability in firefighting, rescue, and oil spill recovery operations through planning, command and control, and the conduct of integrated operations,” Abu said.

“Oil spill companies of the concerned countries will also be encouraged to combat, control, and recover oil spillage to accomplish the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response,” he added.

Aside from the MRRV-9701 vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) and BRP Cape Engaño (MRRV-4411) will also join the exercise.

MARPOLEX is a biennial event which is jointly conducted by the PCG and Indonesia’s DGST. The previous exercise was held in July 2019 in Davao City.

In February, several Coast Guard personnel led by PCG Officer-in-Charge Vice Admiral Eduardo Fabricante welcomed the arrival of the first MRRV-9701 in Port Area, Manila.

The MRRV-9701 sailed from Shimonoseki Shipyard in Japan where it was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Ltd. last December 2020, according to PCG.

The MRRV-9701 is one of two 97-meter MRRVs the Philippines had ordered from Japan, as part of PCG's modernization program.—LDF, GMA News