PCG on heightened alert for influx of passengers this holiday

Robie de Guzman   •   December 16, 2019   •   257

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday said its forces are now on heightened alert as it beefs up safety measures for the holiday season.

Under its Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Pasko 2019, the PCG said all its units in various ports across the country will be on high alert starting from December 16, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

The agency said this is in compliance with the Department of Transportation’s directive to provide safe and comfortable transportation services to the public, especially this holiday season.

“All PCG units are directed to be on heightened alert and intensify safety and security measures on national ports and ferry terminals this Christmas season to ensure the orderly operations of all sea transport facilities; the safe and covenient travel of the riding public; and the security at beaches and local resorts,” PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said in a statement.

The agency said all its available assets are strategically deployed in major ports nationwide including its 55-meter multi-mission offshore vessel, nine 44-meter multi-role response vessels, six 30-meter monitoring control surveillance vessels, two 35-meter search and rescue vessels, and three 24-meter fast patrol boats.

The PCG will also deploy some of its small crafts including two 12-meter high speed boats, ten seven-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, and several aluminum and rubber boats.

This is to ensure that critical ports, especially in the western and eastern seaboard of the country, are closely monitored against any untoward maritime security incident.

Special operations forces, harbor patrols, and ship inspectors are also stationed at major ports 24/7, the PCG added.

Garcia further stated that PCG personnel are also deployed to man Malasakit help desks at major seaports across the country, while in coordination with national security agencies including the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure zero maritime incident or casualty this season.

PH inks deal with Japanese firm for procurement of 2 PCG patrol ships

Robie de Guzman   •   February 7, 2020

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade (L) and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. president and CEO, Koji Okura (R) led the signing of the contract for the supply and delivery of two (2) units of Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, Phase II, 7 February 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it has signed a deal with Japanese firm Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. to supply and deliver two units of multi-role response vessels (MRRV) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. president and CEO, Koji Okura led the signing of the contract held earlier in the day.

During the ceremony, Tugade said the development, which is under phase II of Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, is a breakthrough towards the government’s thrust of modernizing and upgrading the country’s maritime protection and border control.

“The modernization of the Philippine Coast Guard has been going fast and quick and very meaningful… The government of Japan has contributed very much, and to which I express my appreciation for your continued support,” he added.

The MRRVs are measuring approximately 94-meters, have a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles.

The additional patrol vessels are seen to further boost the PCG’s response to maritime incidents in the country’s waters, up to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as search and rescue operations, maritime security operations, and marine environmental protection, among others.

“It is a big stride to the development of this country in the context of maritime security and maritime safety,” PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said.

The new vessels are expected to be delivered to the country by 2022.

President Koji Okura, meanwhile, expressed his intent to continuously work with the Philippine government in delivering various projects, and initiatives.

“We look forward to working with you all, in this important project and we sincerely appreciate your continuous cooperation to make this project successful,” he said.

PPA: Cargo ships from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan may now anchor in Phl ports

Maris Federez   •   February 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has allowed the cargo ships from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan to anchor in any of the country’s seaports.

PPA general-manager Jay Santiago said the cargoes will not be contaminated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as viruses die within 10 hours in an external environment as explained by health experts.

“The Bureau of Quarantine has already lifted that measure and we will now allow ships even from China, Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan to directly berth and discharge cargoes at the port of Manila and all other PPA operated ports,” Santiago said.

The official, however, clarified that the crews of the cargo ships will not be allowed to disembark.

Personnel from the Bureau of Quarantine will be the one to board the ship to check on the passengers and ensure that none of them present any symptoms of the 2019-nCoV.

“They will not be allowed to disembark in the Philippines’ port they will be required to stay aboard the ships,” said Santiago.

Meanwhile, three sea vessels from China were not permitted to dock in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the cargo ships arrived in Dumaguete City on Tuesday (Feb. 4) afternoon but the 11 Filipino crews were not allowed to get off as they need to undergo the 14-day quarantine.

The ships are still awaiting the designated quarantine officers who will check on all the crews. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

PCG personnel in ports told to wear protective gears vs. nCoV

Robie de Guzman   •   January 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said it has implemented stricter guidelines and preventive measures to protect its port personnel against novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

In a statement, PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said the guidelines are specifically intended to protect individuals who are performing port state control functions, including vessel boarding procedures.

Garcia urged PCG personnel to strictly follow the following measures to keep themselves from being infected and to deter any possibility of spreading the deadly coronavirus strain:

1) Avoid close contact between port state control officers and ship’s crew;

2) Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, latex gloves, and boots, especially if close contact with any of the ship’s crew cannot be avoided;

3) Properly and immediately dispose PPE after usage to avoid possible contaminations;

4) Maintain clean hands and use hand sanitizers at all times;

5) Ensure the availability and placement of hand sanitizers in all stations;

6) Immediately report if any of the ship’s crew is found to have developed any sign or symptom of flu or pneumonia during the boarding procedure;

7) Advice ship’s crew to limit or avoid unnecessary movement outside the vessel and to wear PPE if required to disembark to Philippine shores; and

8) Ensure that ship’s crew follow the guidelines in handling vessel’s waste disposal.

Garcia said coast guard personnel shall observe the abovementioned guidelines before and after boarding a suspected vessel that came from any country with reported cases of NCoV infection, based on their port of origin or last port call for the last 14 days.

Garcia said the imposition of more stringent measures for its port state control officers is in compliance with the directive issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade against the deadly virus.

The move follows the Department of Health’s confirmation of the first novel coronavirus case in the country.

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