Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Brief History Of FMS Case(s) PI-P-GAK & PI-P-GAN
Philippine Navy 78-Foot Patrol Boat Maintenance Program
Mobile Repair Teams (MRT)

This is a brief history of the MRT maintenance program on the Philippine Navy’s (PN) 78’ Patrol Boats. A total of twenty-two (22) craft were built by Halter Marine Inc. under FMS case, PI-P-SPG. The MRT program for the PN is currently under FMS cases PI-P-GAN and PI-P-RCU which is managed by NAVSEA PMS325F.

Initially, the MRT program started up as two (2) different FMS cases, PI-P-JCV (Materials) and PI-P-GAK (Labor for MRT). Case PI-P-JCV was originally superceded by PI-P-RCS which is now PI-P-RCU. Case PI-P-GAK was superceded by PI-P-GAN. The original cases were initially funded from residuals of the Bases Compensation that was paid during the days at the former bases in Subic Bay and Clark Air Base. The planning for this project started around the middle to late 1996 or early 1997 time frame. Actual in-country work started in January of 1998 with a material assessment of the first eight 78 foot patrols boats (MKI) by a joint U.S. Navy and Philippine Navy team. The USN team consisted of representatives from PMS325, SUPSHIP New Orleans and the government services contractor that would actually be accomplishing the work packages. Xeno Technix was the contractor for the beginning of this project as it was determined that this work would be executed as an 8A small business set aside contract.

After the ship checks were conducted and a work package was developed, the necessary paperwork and material procurement started so that actual work could start in-country. Xeno Technix opened a regional office in Manila and under took responsibility for the in-country phase of this project on the 5th of April 1998. After material started arriving around the end of May 1998 and a large amount of coordination with the Philippine Navy the first two patrol boats, PG-372 and PG-375, were entered into maintenance availability's, called MRT's, in June 1998. The work packages were/are a combination of maintenance and up-grades to these boats to bring them up to standards of the newer (MKIII) patrol boats of the class. In addition, these work packages were screened for accomplishment in several different categories. Cat I jobs were work that could be accomplished by the Philippine Navy without assistance from the FMS cases. Cat II jobs were assigned to the Philippine Navy for accomplishment with U.S. Government furnished materials (GFM). And Cat III jobs were assigned to Xeno Technix to accomplish. In addition to accomplishing the work on the Cat III jobs Xeno was tasked to provide On the Job Training (OJT) to designated Philippine Navy personnel on Xeno's job with the intent that the Philippine Navy would some day be better prepared and trained to accomplish this type of work on their own.

As originally intended, Xeno would procure the material and accomplish specific repairs and modifications to the first eight boats of the class. Initially there were many delays in the material procurement phase. The primarily cause of this was the long logistics arm from the continental United States to the Philippines. Virtually none of the materials required for these boats were/are available in country and all had to be procured/shipped from the states. That is with the exception of the Main Engine parts, which are available from an in-country representative for Detroit Diesel. However, it has been found that the parts could be purchased in the states and shipped to the Philippines cheaper than to buy them in-country.

After approximately one year and many delays Xeno Technix filed bankruptcy in the U.S. This was mainly driven by their stateside operations and not their ability to perform under this MRT contract in the Philippines. All of the parties involved (U.S. Embassy Manila, Philippine Navy and NAVSEA) in this project were very pleased with the effort of the team of skilled craftsmen (most of which were formerly SRF Subic employee's) that were put together. In view of this, the U.S. government representatives requested Mr. Tom Thomas, in-country manager for Xeno, to form his own company and take over the contract in order to maintain continuity. Mr. Thomas incorporated "NetWork & Management Solutions, Inc." (NMSI) in the state of Nevada to continue on with this project. It was then required that he form and incorporate another company here in the Philippines in order to hire Filipino workers to accomplish the work. RTR Mobile Ship Repair was established to fulfill this requirement. On April 1, 2006, “RTR” was replaced by NMSI Mobile Ship Repair. NMSI Mobile Ship Repair is a Philippine registered company and is duly authorized to accomplish all types of ship repair within the Philippines. Since the incorporation of these companies all MRT efforts under the FMS cases has been executed by them.

The work packages on the first eight boats were mostly related to modifications to bring them to the same configuration of the follow on boats (fourteen) of this class and an upgrade to COT electronics (i.e. radar and radios). And of course there were a significant amount of other repairs as well, such as main and auxiliary engine overhauls. As originally intended most of the work was to be accomplished by the Philippine Navy. However, with their priorities constantly changing, it was observed that they had a serious problem in executing their work packages. For example the first two MRT's on the PG-372 and 375 took over one year to execute. Driven mainly by the PN's inability to provide the materials that they needed to procure locally and then due to lack of trained personal to accomplish the work assigned them. In addition to that the OJT portion of this project has never really been taken advantage of by the PN. Here again due primarily to the lack of personnel. If the PN did have someone in the OJT program they would often quit and move on to a higher paying job else where once qualified. Obviously, this was/is not helping the PN achieve their goal of obtaining and maintaining a qualified work force. So the OJT portion of this work package remains but has been very ineffective in reaching the goals desired. That is one day the PN would have properly trained personal in the repair of these 78-foot patrol boats and would be able to accomplish these repairs on their own.

In addition to the manpower issues already addressed regarding the PN, they are also somewhat restrained in accomplishing their work due primarily to the, perceived, lack of maintenance funding within the Philippine Navy maintenance budget. Initially during this program, more often than not NMSI’s work was brought to a complete halt while waiting for funding on the PN side to procure needed materials for them to proceed with their work packages. Due primarily to these problems that were being experienced by the PN, the Embassy and NAVSEA opted to re-screen the work packages and have NMSI accomplish the majority of the work items in order to complete them within the funds that are currently available. However, even with the re-screening of the work packages, NMSI is still being hampered by the PN cannibalizing the engines of the boats that are coming into MRT maintenance availabilities. This causes added expense to the program and delays due to having to identify and order the replacements parts for what was cannibalized.

To date we have completed twelve PRAVs and numerous ERAVs. Please review the “work” sections of this web site for specific details on completed and current work.

While there appears to be a considerable amount of negative information in this history, this project has been extremely successful to date. It is felt by members on both sides, U.S. and Philippines, that this project is successful and desires are high to keep it going. It is the Philippine Navy's number one project for FMS. And with this work being accomplished by a U.S. company and a U.S. "controlled" Philippine company, the U.S. Government is insured that funding provided under FMS program is indeed being used where it is intended to be used.