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Philippines set to acquire 5 patrol boats from France

MANILA -- The Philippines will buy five patrol boats from France for about 90 million euros (US$116 million), partly to guard disputed areas in the South China Sea, the coastguard said Tuesday.

Rear Admiral Luis Tuason, the chief of the poorly equipped Coast Guard, said one 82-meter (271-foot) ship and four 24-meter (79-foot) patrol craft would be delivered by 2014.

Tuason cited the need for such ships to patrol the rough waters of the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

“When we patrol the West Philippine Sea, we encounter huge waves, turbulent waters so it will be better if we will use bigger ships,” Tuason said in a statement.

Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo said the larger ship was a “heavy endurance vessel that can be deployed even in bad weather.”

This is the first such ship to be acquired by the Coast Guard, he added.

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