A team from the Philippine Coast Guard has arrived in France for a familiarization training of the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV 8301), the PCG’s first offshore patrol vessel.
The PCG said the team, which will be part of the vessel’s crew, will undergo a two-month vessel familiarization training in Les Sables-d’Olonne in France.
Once they complete their training, three-week sea trials, and provisional acceptance, the team will prepare for transit and set to arrive in the Philippines by first week of December 2019 (https://www.facebook.com/philcoastguardofficialpage/posts/370178993650761).
Other PCG personnel in France include those from Coast Guard Surface Support Force and Coast Guard Weapons, Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Command.
BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV 8301), measuring 83.6 meters long, is the world’s largest aluminum OPV. It is under the helm of Commander Alberto Ferre, who previously commanded the second of the four 24-meter fast patrol boats (FPB) from France, BRP Panglao (FPB 2402).
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.
“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,” the Coast Guard said.