Even before reaching the Philippine waters after its commissioning to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) last year held in France, the 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) named “BRP Gabriela Silang” is all-set for its first-ever mission – to repatriate Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in case hostilities erupt in the Middle East.
BRP Gabriela Silang left Saint-Nazaire, France for its maiden voyage on 30 December 2019 and was initially scheduled to reach the Philippines on 10 February 2020. However, as directed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as part of the national government’s preparation to assist OFWs who may need immediate extrication, the arrival of BRP Gabriela Silang is halted for a greater cause.
Currently docked at Malta Freeport, BRP Gabriela Silang and its 35 crew members are now preparing to sail to the Middle East, specifically to Oman or Dubai, to ensure the safety and security of OFWs through ferry missions. In case of conflict, OFWs will be brought to safer ports where they may be airlifted, as the need arises.
Considered as the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world to date, the BRP Gabriela Silang is designed to meet the demanding mandate of the PCG which highlights the responsibility to perform maritime search and rescue in service to the nation.
The OPV can ferry approximately 500 people at one time and is more than capable to perform beyond its contractual specification of 20 knots of speed. It has a range of 8000 nautical miles at 15 knots and an endurance of up to five weeks of operation. It has an excellent sea keeping ability and maneuverability on top of the great comfort it offers for people onboard.
“Mahalaga para sa amin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Makakaasa po kayo na nakatutok ang PCG sa mga nangyayari sa Middle East para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng ating mga makabagong bayani,” Admiral Garcia said.
Finally, the PCG will also deploy 18 additional crew members to assist BRP Gabriela Silang in the successful conduct of its first-ever mission in the Middle East. PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD