Home » Maritime » Coast Guard will settle for search and rescue vessel upgrades

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is looking for ways to upgrade the service life of its search-and-rescue vessels (SARVs).

"We are now doing studies to determine what upgrades we can do to our SARVs to ensure they will be effective for 20 years or more," PCG commandant VAdm Wilfredo Tamayo said, adding the proposal is ideal, considering the country is financially strapped.

Putting active duty ships on service life extension programs is generally much cheaper than ordering new ones.

"We have to look for ways to extend the life of our current assets to complement our initiatives for the general improvement of the agency through better and modern assets and personnel," Tamayo said.

Service life extension program usually involves replacement of the ship’s power plant, navigation and communication systems, and fitting of new hull plates in badly worn-out areas, and installation of new weaponry or equipment. The practice is generally accepted even in wealthy nations like the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

PCG has four SARVs in its fleet — the BRP San Juan (AU 001), BRP EDSA DOS II (AU 002), BRP Pampanga (AU 003), and BRP Batangas (AU 004). All were acquired from 2000 to 2003 by then PCG commandant Vice Admiral Ruben Lista from Australian defense manufacturer Tenix.

Each of the ships weigh 275 deadweight tons, are 56 meters long and 10.55 meters wide, and equipped with two Caterpillar diesel engine, giving it a maximum speed of 26 knots.

Each has a complement of 13 officers and 24 rating and is capable of transporting 300 persons during an emergency.

The SARVs have a flight deck capable of supporting the operations of one light helicopter weighing 4,672 kilograms and mounts for .50 caliber machine guns.

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