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US donates 9 vessels to Philippine Navy
MANILA, Dec 5 (PNA) – The United States donated on Tuesday nine vessels to the Philippine Navy (PN) to bolster the deployment capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Anne Kenney formally turned over to Vice Admiral Rogelio Calunsag, PN flag officer in command, seven Naval Utility Boats (NUB) and two Boston Whalers at ceremonies held at the PN Headquarters on Roxas Boulevard here.
The latest addition to the navy’s inventory is a major leap in its capability upgrade program since procuring new floating assets has been the greatest challenge facing its leadership today because of budgetary constraints that has held back its next procurement until 2017, Calunsag said.
The PN chief said that the NUBs will be deployed to the Philippine Fleet, the Inshore Boat Battalion of the Philippine Marine Corps, Naval Forces Central, Naval Forces West, Naval Base Cavite and the Naval Sea Systems Command.
“These new assets will be employed to boost maritime security and serve as an overall drive to develop a strong and credible Navy that the nation can depend on,” he said.
The donation was part of the commitment by the US to support the AFP’s upgrade capability program.
They are designed for general purpose personnel transport, utility operations and supply transport that may be used as a ship’s boat or during inshore mobilization.
The boats are made of durable fiber glass material. Each vessel can accommodate 45 personnel. Measuring 33 X 10 feet, its cruising speed of 13 knots is powered by Cummins Marine Diesel engine. It is economical with a consumption rate of 2.5 nautical miles per gallon.
During stealth operations, the NUB can slip away from enemy detection.
The Navy has to explore unconventional means of acquiring new assets.
NUBs will also be used for riverine security operations and as a transport craft fitted for the Philippine setting which is an archipelago with 7,107 islands.
Calunsag described the US government’s kind gestures as an indication of support to their common thrust and shared goals in securing a more stable and peaceful region.
He added that the Philippine Navy is trying to bridge the gap with other Southeast Asian navies in the acquisition of ships.
He also commended Colonel Mathias Velasco, the Chief of the Joint United States Military Assistance Group(JUSMAG), for helping the acquisition of the vessels. (PNA) http://www.positivenewsmedia.net/am2/publish/Main_News_1/US_donates_9_vessels_to_Philippine_Navy.shtml