THE Philippine Coast Guard's (PCG) biggest and newest naval asset arrived in Bacolod City on Friday, October 30, for a port visit.
The ship, BRP Gabriela Silang, is an 84-meter long offshore patrol vessel. It was launched at OCEA Shipbuilding at Les Sables-d'Olonne in France in July 17, 2019 and was formally commissioned to the PCG in April 13, 2020.
Commander Alberto Ferre, the ship's commanding officer, said the reason they were currently deployed in Bacolod City is due to the incoming storms and typhoons, and they are just on standby should there be any emergencies in the Visayas area.
Ferre said he took command of the ship when it was handed over to them in France in December of last year, until its commissioning when it finally arrived in Manila.
The BRP Gabriela Silang commissioning also came in time when the country was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
From April up to this November, the PCG vessel was assigned in transporting locally stranded individuals (LSIs), and medical supplies.
The ship also previously visited Bacolod City in May 2020, as it tranported Negrense LSIs and delivered personal protective equipment for Covid-19 frontliners in Negros Occidental.
The ship's compliment consists of 60 crew members and it can last 22 days at sea without reprovisioning.
Ferre said the ship is also capable of handling rough weather at sea as it is fully-equipped with stabilizers, which also make it fully capable to conduct immediate rescue operations during bad weather.
The ship can also sail at a top speed of 21 knots.
As for the armaments, Ferre said the ship is currently unarmed, although it will receive its own weapon systems in the future.