Home » Maritime » New PCG Law’s implementing rules confusing, say stakeholders

LOCAL and international shipping lines are batting for clear-cut language in the implementing guidelines of Republic Act (RA) 9333 or the New Coast Guard Law.

In a recent public consultation organized by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), industry stakeholders said confusion and a turf war will likely occur if the new guidelines are implemented as is.

The consultation was attended by members of the Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA); Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL); Bureau of Customs (BOC); Philippine National Police; and tanker, lighterage and roll on-roll off operators.

According to shipping lines, the PCG should just focus on maritime enforcement and inspection and leave the crafting of maritime policies to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

The implementing guidelines are in particular confusing when it comes to fees such as on the Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), PLSA said. The VTMS fee is already being collected by another maritime agency – the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

“If PCG insists on enforcing policies already being implemented by other agencies, then they should settle (the matter) internally (with the other government agency),” PLSA said.

One other issue raised by stakeholders has to do with this provision: “No vessel, watercraft or water conveyances, pleasure craft and the like shall be registered or allowed renewal of their licenses unless the PCG shall have undertaken the mandatory safety inspections to verify compliance to safety standards, rules and regulations.”

Barge operators claim the provision is confusing since it is not exactly clear whether the PCG will now take over the ship registration function of Marina.

AISL, for its part, pointed out the power to detain a vessel used for smuggling goods rests with the BOC.

The DOTC and the PCG have asked stakeholders to submit their comments on the proposed guidelines on or before June 1, 2010 for final presentation a week after. DOTC and PCG are eyeing the release of the final guidelines before end of June or before the onset of the rainy season when most maritime disasters take place.

Earlier, PCG said it will strip Marina of full maritime enforcement and inspection duties as these are now part of RA 9333.

Marina officials said they were willing to give up such duties as long as the PCG can show it has the qualified personnel.

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