Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has launched the first of two large multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) that are being constructed for the Department of Transportation in the Republic of the Philippines.

The company is a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group.

The launch ceremony was held at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard and Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

In May 2022, the christening and handover of this first vessel will take place.

Before sailing to Manilla in early March next year, the vessel will undergo test runs, along with outfitting work.

With a maximum speed of 24 knots, the 96.6m-long vessel has a cruising range of up to 4,000 nautical miles.

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In a statement, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding said: “It is equipped with secure communication systems for exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance, a helideck and hangar for helicopter operations, an underwater remotely operated vehicle for subsurface search and survey, high-speed rubber boats and other essential equipment for maritime domain awareness and maritime law enforcement operations.”

The vessel is expected to increase the response speed in case of maritime mishaps or crimes in the Philippines EEZ as well as high seas.

MRRVs provide services in severe-weather rescue missions, along with patrolling in offshore and coastal zones.

The launch ceremony for the second vessel will take place in November, followed by expected cruising to Manilla next May and christening and delivery in September 2022.

This project received financial support from the Japanese Government under a yen loan agreement in line with Phase II of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project.

The project was concluded between the two nations in October 2016.

As per the terms of the project, applications were called for with a focus on Japanese technology, especially in shipbuilding.

Last November, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding announced its participation in an inter-business project to explore ‘Roboship’ as the future marine vessel.