With on-going territorial disputes, the Philippines needs to strengthen its security measures. Hence, the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As part of this procedure, six new Philippine Navy ships are to be made in the “Cebu’s Shipbuilding Capital” – Balamban.
After the completion of the $20M expansion project of the Filipino-Australian shipbuilding company, Austal Philippines, it is now licensed to build offshore vessels for the Philippines. The Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the acquisition of the soon-to-be produced naval ships in Balamban wherein the first ship is expected to arrive two years after the contract signing (by the end of this year).
Austal Philippines’ Shipyard is located in the West Cebu Industrial Park. It began operating in 2012 and since then, was able to deliver 17 ships to 10 operators in nine countries. Its recently constructed facility has been designed to accommodate large vessel projects – which is perfect for hull assembly, final outfitting, and painting capacity. This is part of the company’s strategy to regionalize the manufacturing base for commercial vessels, according to the Company Chief Executive Officer David Singleton.
With this, the company is now able to accept more projects like passenger and vehicle-passenger ferries, workboats, offshore crew transfer vessel, and of course, naval ships. The vessels that the company proposed to the Department of National Defense are of larger variant of the Cape-class patrol vessels used by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force – truly a potential in designing and building world-class vessels like what they did in United States and Australia.
Currently, there are over 900 designers, design staff, skilled laborers, and production people working in this facility in Balamban (of which 90% of them are Filipino). With these upcoming investments, surely, this would bring more income and job opportunities to the local government and community.