PCG to send BRP Gabriela Silang to repatriate Filipinos in Middle East

Robie de Guzman   •   January 8, 2020   •   646

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said its most modern vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang, stands ready to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Middle East amid the growing tensions between the United States of America and Iran.

The PCG said the BRP Gabriela Silang was supposed to arrive in the country on February 10, 2020 after its commissioning last year in France, but it has been directed to assist Filipinos who may need to be evacuated from the Middle East.

As ordered by the Philippine government, the PCG said the vessel currently docked at Malta Freeport is preparing to sail to the Middle East, specifically to Oman or Dubai to ensure the safety and security of Filipinos through ferry missions.

“Mahalaga para sa amin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Makakaasa po kayo na nakatutok ang PCG sa mga nangyayari sa Middle East para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng ating mga makabagong bayani,” PCG commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said in a statement.

Garcia said the vessel, along with its 35 crew members, will bring OFWs to safer ports where they will be airlifted if necessary.  

Eighteen additional crew members will also be deployed to assist the vessel in its first-ever mission in the Middle East.

BRP Gabriela Silang, an 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), can carry approximately 500 people at a time and is more than capable to perform beyond its contractual specification of 20 knots of speed.

It has a range of 8,000 nautical miles at 15 knots and an endurance of up to five weeks of operation. It has an excellent sea keeping ability and maneuverability on top of the great comfort it offers for people onboard.

Considered as the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world to date, the PCG said the BRP Gabriela Silang is designed to meet its mandate which highlights the responsibility to perform maritime search and rescue in service to the nation.

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.

Chinese tourist dead, 27 rescued in Boracay boat mishap

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Chinese national died while 27 others were rescued after an island-hopping boat capsized in waters off Boracay Island on Tuesday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

The PCG said its personnel from Boracay sub-station were able to rescue 25 tourist passengers as well as three crew members of the boat.

However, the rescuers failed to revive a 45-year old female tourist despite performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Three other female passengers who needed medical assistance were brought to the nearest hospital.

“They have regained consciousness and are declared safe and in good condition,” the PCG said.

Remaining survivors are also safe and in good physical condition, the agency added.

The coast guard said motorbanca “Jocelyn 1” capsized along the waters off Barangay Balabag in Boracay after encountering strong winds that broke the boat’s outrigger on Tuesday morning.

PCG still searching for missing 7 Pangasinan fishermen

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday said search operations are still ongoing for the seven fishermen who went missing after they left the shores of Dasol, Pangasinan.

In a statement, the PCG said an aerial search is being conducted to look for the missing fishermen. Personnel from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy are also assisting in the search and rescue operations.

The missing fishermen onboard FB Narem 2 reportedly went out to catch some fish last January 6. The group was expected to return to Infanta, Pangasinan on January 14, according to fishing boat owner Christine Macaraig.

The vessel is skippered by Alberto Roldan, with crew members Roderick Montemayor, Homar Maglantay, Jerome Maglantay, Ejay Dela Cruz, Larry Legaspi, and Jefferson Bernabe.

The fishing vessel’s location was last reported at 60 to 90 nautical miles off Camaso Island in Dasol.

The PCG said another vessel will be deployed to help in the search effort.

The agency also called on other local fishers to report to authorities any sighting of the missing fishermen. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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