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Japan CG vessel deployed to Palau in preparation for imperial visit
WRITTEN BY JOSE RODRIGUEZ T. SENASE
MONDAY, 02 MARCH 2015 23:34
“Akitsushima” is among biggest, most-advanced coast guard vessels in the world
One of the most modern vessels of the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) has been deployed to Palau in preparation of the coming visit of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.
The imperial couple is expected to visit Palau from April 8 to 9, 2015. The imperial couple will visit Palau to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Reached by phone, Presidential Chief of Staff Secilil Eldebechel said the vessel, which is named “Akitsushima”, arrived in Palau last week.
“It is part of the advance team. The ship is conducting security operations in coordination with the police and the Division of Marine Law,” he said.
Eldebechel said the vessel will stay in Palau waters for several more days before heading back to Japan.
“It will come back again two weeks prior to the actual visit of the emperor and his wife,” he said.
A Super Puma helicopter carried by the vessel has been observed flying around the island nation since last week.
The “Akitsushima” is among the largest coast guard vessels in the world and is equipped with next-generation technology and equipment.
Commissioned in November 2013, “Akitsushima” is the second member of the Shikishima Class of Patrol Vessels built for the JCG.
The vessel incorporates a mono-hull design offering a large deck area. it is equipped with anti-air capabilities, unlike other coast guard vessels of Japan. The long-range cruising capability combined with its superior firepower makes the vessel ideal for long-range patrols and escort missions.
The primary missions of the “Akitsushima” are maritime patrol, search-and-rescue, anti-piracy, border control and environment protection.
The ship has a long-range cruising capacity, making it a valuable asset for the Coast Guard. It can make voyages from Japan to Europe, for example, without the need to refuel.
The vessel frequently sails to south-east Asia to bolster international efforts against piracy in the Strait of Malacca
The vessel has a length of 150m, beam of 17m, and draft of 10m. The gross tonnage of the ship is 6,500t. The vessel Class can carry a maximum of 140 crew, including the ship company and air crew. Accommodation facilities are provided for the crew members.
The “Akitsushima” is armed with two JM61 20mm Gatling guns and two 35mm twin Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. The vessel can also carry two 12.7mm M2 machine guns. The twin 35mm cannons are equipped with two optronic directors.
The vessel comes equipped with a JMS 1596 navigation radar, JMA 8303 surface search radar, JMA 3000 helo control radar and a Mitsubishi Electric OPS-14C two-dimensional air-search radar.
It also carries two AS332 Super Puma helicopters that are deployed in search-and-rescue missions.
The AS332 Super Puma is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-size utility helicopter developed and marketed by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). It is an enlarged and re-engined version of the original Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma
The “Akisushima” is presently homeported at Yokosuka, Japan.