Coast Guard needs 30 more shipsBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard needs at least 30 more ships and patrol craft to help secure the country’s maritime boundaries, a PCG official said Saturday.
Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena, PCG fleet commander, said the Coast Guard needed additional vessels since its existing 15 ships were not enough to patrol the seas covered by the 54 PCG stations or outposts across the country.
“We really need more ships and patrol craft. That’s our No. 1 priority,” Isonera said in an interview. “Each station should have a ship so that if something happens in its area of jurisdiction, our unit can properly respond.”
Isonera said the Coast Guard actually needed 60 ships but could settle with half that number due to the high cost of acquiring new vessels.
At present, the PCG’s main work horses are the four 56-meter Tenix (San Juan class) search-and-rescue vessels which were acquired in the early 2000′s.
The four are considered the PCG’s most modern vessels as they are equipped with decompression chambers and helipads. However, two of these ships are currently under repair.
“If you are a passenger and your ship is about to sail, you’d feel safe seeing that there’s a Coast Guard ship ready to respond,” Isonera said.