The PNP Maritime Group should procure patrol boats with similar configurations such as the one that PCG has acquired and PN is planning to acquire, especially for its Special Operations Units (SOUs) in Palawan, Tawi-Tawi and Batanes areas.
The demand for a bigger patrol boat for police operations is seen to be relevant in present times. A bigger boat will serve as a more stable platform for law enforcement and will provide a multifunction role for the MG, such as a command boat, mother ship and/or supply boat for the smaller police gunboats/patrol boats that the Group currently has in its inventory.
It is maybe a non-traditional job for the national police force, but the PNP Maritime Group specializes in maritime law enforcement, it being the Group’s bread and butter, and prides itself as the sole branch of the PNP that can take on the demands for law enforcement in the maritime setting, in partnership with other relevant maritime agencies. It provides a wide range of services; from crime prevention, crime solution and up to criminal prosecution of offenders of the various laws of the country, while also supporting agencies such as in the fisheries and wildlife law enforcement and even in search and rescue/retrieval operations.
|French-built patrol boat. courtesy of PCG
Recently, the PNP acquired a total of 50 High-Speed Tactical Watercrafts (HSTWs) with at least 46 of these allocated for the Maritime Group. These tactical watercraft are essentially needed for multiple maritime law enforcement and public safety functions of the Group and are projected to at least fill some of the gaping holes in marine and coastal protection. However, the boats’ size limits the operational range and the duration of their stay on the waters, in that the operation is restricted by the technical limitation of the boats. As such, these smaller boats are not enough. The PNP MG’s need is similar to what the PCG/PN needs, a boat that is able to stay for 7-10 days at sea at a time.
|One of the patrol boats considered by PN for procurement. Credits to the photo owner/Maxdefense blog.
Obviously, the PNP Maritime Group needs to procure bigger assets, to take on the equally bigger demands in maritime policing. That is especially in the light of recent developments in the eastern seaboards of the country, where billions of pesos worth of cocaine have been continually recovered.
This is true because at present, there is really a lack of bigger boats in Maritime Group. Boats that can endure higher sea states, longer operational hours and are capable of carrying more. The PNP Maritime Group doesn’t envision to become like a naval organization. It just needs appropriate assets to perform its mandates as the lead national police force to prevent and control crime committed in the maritime setting.
- Maxdefense Blog