“PRC does not try to compete, but tries to keep up,” said Senator Richard Gordon who’s also the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) about the country’s first and largest humanitarian vessel.
The 195-foot military prototype vessel that was unveiled May 9 has the capacity to carry 20 ambulances or six trucks loaded with cargo. The ship can weather extremely choppy seas and operate as a cargo-loaded barge that can bring itself to the shore. In the event of a large-scale disaster, the ship can evacuate up to a thousand people to safety.
“The ship is the realization of our vision to establish the Philippine Red Cross as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country, capable of delivering timely humanitarian services that save lives and restore the dignity of the most vulnerable,” Gordon said.
Originally named M/V Susitna, the ship’s new name was picked through the social media contest titled #NameThatRedCrossShip. As an organization that has broken many barriers, overcome the odds, and came to the rescue to the most disastrous events in Philippine history for the past 70 years, the winning name was apt for the moment.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself led the commissioning of the newly named and now operational, M/V PRC Amazing Grace.
The need and purpose for the humanitarian vessel
“When the tragedy of Yolanda struck our nation more than three years ago, emergency responders faced the formidable task of reaching the devastated areas due to insufficient transport facilities and heavily damaged infrastructure,” President Duterte said.
“May this ship serve as a concrete reminder to all of us that above all we must prioritize the safety, the well-being and the welfare of our people,” the President said.
The President noted the significance of this ship in responding to calamities, and it’s acquisition as in line with the PRC’s vision of responding to any disaster anywhere in the country.
According to the PRC, citing a 2015 report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Philippines ranks fourth in the world among countries hit by the highest number of disasters over the past 20 years.
The PRC also noted in its presentation that the need for a ship came from the organization’s experience during Typhoon Yolanda, where the temporary closure of the Tacloban airport (which was then heavily damaged) and seaports became a hindrance for Red Cross to bring much needed relief. to areas.
In its brief on the ship, PRC said that:
“The Philippines is also currently the fifth most vulnerable country in terms of disaster risk implications for development capacity, according to the UNISDR 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.”
According to Sen. Gordon, the M/V PRC Amazing Grace can be managed with a minimal of six personnel. He also noted that the humanitarian organization has signed an agreement in 2016 with the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific to train and provide crew maintenance for the vessel.
The PRC will also be able to use the ship as a rapid transport and landing vessel for the organization’s emergency units. It will also function as a relief supply transport ship, medical facility deployment ship, sea rescue and mass evacuation vessel, humanitarian logistics ship, mobile operations command post, and humanitarian education and training ship.
It was the PRC, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), British Red Cross, German Red Cross, and Japanese Red Cross, that agreed that having their own ship is needed to effectively perform humanitarian work in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Region. PIA