MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said its most modern vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang, stands ready to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Middle East amid the growing tensions between the United States of America and Iran.
The PCG said the BRP Gabriela Silang was supposed to arrive in the country on February 10, 2020 after its commissioning last year in France, but it has been directed to assist Filipinos who may need to be evacuated from the Middle East.
As ordered by the Philippine government, the PCG said the vessel currently docked at Malta Freeport is preparing to sail to the Middle East, specifically to Oman or Dubai to ensure the safety and security of Filipinos through ferry missions.
“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,” PCG commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said in a statement.
Garcia said the vessel, along with its 35 crew members, will bring OFWs to safer ports where they will be airlifted if necessary.
Eighteen additional crew members will also be deployed to assist the vessel in its first-ever mission in the Middle East.
BRP Gabriela Silang, an 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), can carry approximately 500 people at a time and is more than capable to perform beyond its contractual specification of 20 knots of speed.
It has a range of 8,000 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.
Considered as the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world to date, the PCG said the BRP Gabriela Silang is designed to meet its mandate which highlights the responsibility to perform maritime search and rescue in service to the nation.