MANILA - The Philippines commissioned Tuesday the third of 10 multirole ships provided by Japan, formally including it among the fleet of the Southeast Asian country's coast guard.
The 44-meter long vessel, christened the "BRP Malapascua," was commissioned in a ceremony held at the Philippine Coast Guard's headquarters in Manila. The ship was named after a lighthouse on Malapascua island in the central Philippine province of Cebu.
The ship features fire monitors, night vision camera, radio direction finder, a work boat and a bullet-proof navigational bridge. It also has a cruising speed of 46 kilometers per hour and a range of 2,760 km, according to the coast guard.
The first two were formally commissioned in October and December. The vessels -- the BRP Tubbataha and the BRP Malabrigo -- were also named, respectively, after lighthouses in the country's western island of Palawan and the southern Luzon province of Batangas.
Manufactured by Japan Marine United Corp., the ships were obtained by the Philippines through an official development assistance loan of 7.37 billion pesos ($147 million) from Japan.
Of the seven remaining ships, one is expected to arrive in the Philippines in each quarter of the succeeding years.
The Philippine Coast Guard's spokesman, Cmdr. Armando Balilo, said in a previous interview with Kyodo News that the ships will be used for search and rescue operations as well as environmental protection and law enforcement.
Balilo said the 10 vessels are a valuable addition to the fleet of his country of 7,000-plus islands, which has around 679,800 square kilometers of territorial waters to patrol.