AFP eyeing 2 more second-hand US ships

Posted at 04/26/2011 5:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is negotiating anew with the United States for the acquisition of 2 more patrol ships.

AFP spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez said the talks for the acquisition of 2 Hamilton-class ships are on the “exploratory stage.”

Rodriguez said these Coast Guard cutters are due to be decommissioned by the US. They were first introduced in 1975 but underwent refurbishing in 1989.

"There is an opportunity because the United Sates will decommission these ships and then they are being offered to other countries. We will compete with other countries to buy (these ships)," the official said.

The country already purchased one, worth P1.2 billion, due for delivery in August. A team of Navy officers are currently in the United States where they are conducting training on how to operate the ship.

The acquisition was funded through the modernization program of the Philippine Navy.

"If we get one class of ship and then there is an opportunity to get another as against a totally different ship, the tendency will be to get a sister ship," said Rodriguez.

He said the Hamilton-class ship that is due to arrive will be deployed to Palawan and then to the Spratly Islands.

“It is to protect our interest in the natural resources operations that we have, more (specifically) in Malampaya…It is near Spratlys but basically, the objective is to protect our Malampaya (natural gas project)," he said.