The Philippine Navy (PN) announced that the three tankers, donated by the Philippine National Oil Corporation (PNOC), will be fitted with defensive armaments.
This was revealed by Navy public affairs office chief, Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, in an interview with PNA.
"All Navy ships, regardless of their roles, are always fitted with defensive armaments to protect themselves against possible attacks by hostile forces. And in the case of the tankers, defensive armaments are needed as they are carrying and transporting very valuable cargo," he said in Filipino.
Fabic declined to state what weapons will be fitted to these ships for security reasons.
However, military sources said that .50-caliber heavy machine guns and 20-mm automatic cannons can be fitted aboard these ships.
Earlier, Fabic said that the PNOC-donated tankers are now undergoing dry-dock at a secured and undisclosed location.
The three tankers are currently unnamed. For the moment they are called "Tanker 1", "Tanker 2" and "Tanker 3".
Fabic said these vessels will be commissioned by June or July.
The donation of the tankers was made possible after the PNOC and PN signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last March 26 at Naval Station Jose Andrada in
In addition, the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation (PSTC) is required by the MOA to assist the PN with the familiarization on the navigation systems of the tankers as well as its machinery.
The tankers are currently dry-docked by the PN to ensure that the hull, powerplant, electrical and other fixtures of the vessels are in good condition.