• Kyodo

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The Philippines commissioned into service three Japan-made patrol ships on Monday, adding to the three already received from Japan for the country’s coast guard fleet.

The 44-meter ships are part of a 10-ship building contract awarded to Japan Marine United Corp. by the Department of Transportation through an official development assistance loan from Japan totaling 7.37 billion pesos ($145 million).

The new ships, commissioned at a ceremony to mark the Philippine Coast Guard’s 116th founding anniversary in Manila, have a cruising speed of 46 kph and feature fire monitors, a night-vision camera, radio direction finder and a bulletproof navigational bridge.

The Philippine Coast Guard commissioned the first three of the 10 ships in October and December of last year, and in March. The remaining four ships are expected to be delivered to the coast guard by the end of next year.

The Philippines, consisting of more than 7,000 islands with hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of territorial waters to patrol, has been actively upgrading its coast guard fleet.

The latest addition to the fleet will support the government’s ongoing anti-drug campaign promoted by President Rodrigo Duterte, the coast guard said.

Aside from the 44-meter ships, three 7-meter rigid hull inflatable boats were also handed over to the coast guard Monday.

Seven more of these smaller boats, which are capable of carrying up to 10 people, are expected to be delivered by 2018.

Two 92-meter ships are also expected to be delivered from Japan next year.