BRP Gabriela Silang officers, sailing crew arrive in France for familiarization training

A number of officers and members of the sailing crew for the PCG’s first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to date has started their two-month vessel familiarization training in Les Sables-d’Olonne in France.

The 83.6-meter OPV which will be commissioned in the PCG service as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) (Republic of the Philippines vessel in English) Gabriela Silang (OPV 8301) is the world’s largest OPV made in aluminum. It is built to OPV 270 vessel design of OCEA, the vessel’s shipbuilder from France.

OPV 8301 is under the helm of Commander Alberto T Ferre PCG who previously commanded the second of the four 24-meter fast patrol boats (FPB) from France, BRP Panglao (FPB 2402). After the delivery of FPBs, OPV-8301 is the fifth and final vessel as part of the EUR90 million-contract acquisition project awarded by the Department of Transportation and financed through French international banking group, BNP Paribas.

Aside from its vessel crew, personnel from the Coast Guard Surface Support Force and Coast Guard Weapons, Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Command arrived in France for a preliminary commissioning training on vessel specification and operation familiarization provided by OCEA.

The agency’s newest acquisition is designed for voyage and operations in rough sea condition. OPV 8301 will be put into service for sustainable presence at sea in line with the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to increase the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrols in the Philippine Rise and West Philippine Sea since it has a maximum range of 8,000 nautical miles and can patrol up to 22 days long at sea.

After the completion of training, three-week sea trials, and provisional acceptance, the sailing team will prepare for transit and set to arrive in the Philippines by first week of December 2019.

Last July 17 this year, OCEA held a ceremony to formally launch the vessel in OCEA shipyard graced by officials from the Department of Transportation, Maritime Industry Authority and the PCG. PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD