France expresses support in developing PH maritime capabilities [fr]
French Ambassador Nicolas Galey attended the commissioning ceremony of the BRP Panglao and the BRP Boracay, two brand new 24-meter fast-patrol boats manufactured by the French shipbuilder OCEA, during a ceremony held at the National Headquarters of Philippine Coast Guard last October 15 in Manila. Secretary of Finance Carlos G. Dominguez was invited as guest of honor and speaker.
In 2014, a commercial contract worth 97 million euros (about 5.82 billion pesos) was signed between France’s OCEA and the Department of Transportation for the acquisition by the Philippine Coast Guard of four brand new 24-meter fast patrol boats and one 82-meter offshore patrol vessel.
The acquisition of these vessels seeks to enhance the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in performing its functions on maritime security, safety, maritime search and rescue, marine environmental protection as well as offshore patrol of the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Three of the four French-built fast patrol vessels will be operated for the purpose of conducting joint operations between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Customs in protecting the country’s borders and suppressing smuggling activities.
Under the contract, the French shipbuilder OCEA provides the training of the crews, a five-year period of maintenance, and the provision of spare parts.
The agreement was financed through an export-credit loan structured by the French banks BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole, with a guarantee from the French state.
The two remaining fast patrol boats are expected to be delivered before the end of the year, while the 82-meter offshore patrol vessel will be received by the Philippine Coast Guard by August 2019.
France fully supports the Philippines’ program of modernization of its maritime capabilities through future transactions between OCEA and the Philippine government. The original contract signed by the Department of Transportation provides an option for the acquisition of a second 82-meter offshore patrol vessel with armament.
“We welcome the conclusion of this agreement between the Philippine government and OCEA, which is one of the global leaders in the shipbuilding industry, to acquire these vessels with the aim of developing the maritime capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard and protecting the country’s borders,” Ambassador Galey said following the ceremony.
“France has much to offer the Philippines in terms of maritime, military, and defense equipment, as well as expertise in these fields. We stand ready to present our proposals, according to the priorities of the Philippine government,” he added.