Duterte names Ursabia as new PCG chief

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020   •   157

photo here: https://www.facebook.com/coastguardph/photos/a.115431275792202/536387257029933/?type=3&theater

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vice Admiral George Ursabia as the new commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

In a letter of appointment signed by Duterte, Ursabia will take over the position effective June 1 as Admiral Joel Garcia retires from the Coast Guard Service.

Prior to his designation as new PCG chief, Ursabia served as the Commander of the PCG-Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM) and the Task Group Laban COVID-19 Water Cluster, which oversees the deployment and operations of PCG personnel to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino people in this time of pandemic.

He also commanded the Coast Guard Districts Central Visayas, Palawan, Southeastern Mindanao and Northern Luzon, aside from his other positions as the Commander of the Coast Guard Ready Force and Staff for Maritime Safety Affairs.

According to a PCG statement, Ursabia is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Hinirang Class of 1987.

He later pursued a Master of Science Degree in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection as a scholar of Sasakawa Foundation, Japan and eventually earned the said post-graduate degree from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden in 1999.

Information from the PCG further stated that in Ursabia’s more than 36 years of active service, he held major positions both in the Philippine Navy and the PCG.

He is also a holder of “the most coveted Command-at-Sea Badge” as he commanded three Coast Guard SAR vessels namely BRP Romblon (SARV-3503), BRP Davao Del Norte (SARV 3504), and BRP Pampanga (SARV 003) as well as three (3) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 30-meter patrol boats, the agency said.

“I know that Vice Admiral Ursabia will continue the significant developments that as a leader at the helm must gear upon for the greater benefits of the Command,” Admiral Garcia stated.

PH Coast Guard commissions new helicopter to service

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has commissioned into service one of its two new Airbus H145 light twin-engine helicopters.

In a statement, the PCG said its Commandant, Vice Admiral George Ursabia graced the “simple and private ceremony” on Thursday at the Coast Guard Aviation Force Hangar in the Domestic Airport Complex.

The PCG said the new air asset from Germany is a four-tonne-class twin-engine helicopter equipped with high-frequency radios, emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, and searchlight.

It is also equipped with electro-optical systems to perform critical missions including search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol, and maritime law enforcement.

The PCG said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the new helicopter is being utilized in transporting personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and medical supplies in various cities and provinces across the country to support the nationwide battle for public health and safety.

Stranded whale rescued in Bagac, Bataan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 19, 2020

A stranded pilot whale was rescued along the coastal waters of a private beach resort in Bagac, Bataan on Monday (June 15).

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescued the short-finned whale and immediately brought her to a nearby lagoon. Upon evaluation, the pilot whale was found to be weak and under stress. It is approximately three meters in length.

“The concerned veterinarian provided her with anti-stress antibiotics and took blood samples to further determine her health condition,” the PCG said in a post.

The PCG said they will continue to monitor the whale until full recovery before releasing it back into the ocean. AAC

Chinese-registered dredger runs aground off Zambales – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday said it has deployed a response team to conduct a survey and inspection operations on a dredger that ran aground off the coast of Botolan, Zambales.

The PCG said the Chinese-registered dredger, MV Zhong Hai 69 Alfa, was grounded last Sunday, June 14 approximately 200 meters off Barangay Bangan.

The survey and inspection conducted by the PCG response team showed that the vessel’s engine room and its compartments have been flooded with seawater.

The team, however, assured there are no signs of oil leaking from the grounded dredger.

The PCG-Zambales said the operator of the ship, Z2K Resources Inc., has pledged to procure additional bilge pumps to be used in the dewatering of the flooded vessel.

PCG Commandant Vice-Admiral George Ursabia Jr. assured that the salvage of the grounded dredger will be strictly supervised by the PCG and that there will be continuous monitoring of the situation.

“The PCG remains on top of the situation. We do not want to add another burden to the current crisis we are facing. Most of all, we do not want the local residents in the area to bear the negative consequences of this situation, especially with the possible harm it can cause to the local marine environment,” Ursabia said.

The PCG is now working round-the-clock to supervise the salvaging of the dredger, he added.

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