The Philippines said Saturday it is purchasing a surplus French Navy vessel to boost its forces in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where it has an ongoing territorial dispute with China.
The 26-year-old “La Tapageuse” vessel is likely to be the first of several French ships that will be acquired by the Philippine Coast Guard as it contends with increasingly assertive Chinese forces.
The 54.8-meter patrol ship will cost six million Euros ($7.97 million) and is due to arrive in the country by April next year, a coastguard statement said.
The ship, which is armed with two cannon and two machine-guns, was inspected before acquisition and is good for 20 more years of service, the coastguard said.
“This French vessel is multi-functional and it would be a major contribution to our fleet, particularly in our search and rescue operations,” coastguard chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena was quoted as saying in the statement. AFP