Home » Maritime » PCG now fully responsible for maritime safety enforcement

THE function of maritime safety enforcement has been fully transferred to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed into law Republic Act 9993 or the PCG Law.

The transfer is expected to reduce finger pointing during maritime accidents. Prior to the passage of the bill, PCG was only deputized by Marina to enforce maritime safety.

“Technically, we are no longer deputized by Marina under the Coast Guard Law,” PCG commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said, adding “all maritime enforcement activities now belong to us.”

Among others, the law empowers PCG to stop ships from sailing at any time if they are deemed unseaworthy, detain ships non-compliant with safety standards, and conduct spot ship inspection.

In addtion, the law is expected to expedite requests to the national government for the purchase of new ships.

The agency operates 20 vessels, including 10 loaned from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, but said it needs twice as much to cover major shores as well as those frequented by poachers and smugglers.

The PCG is also proposing to purchase seven helicopters to improve maritime safety enforcement along Philippine shores.

It has two helicopters but only one is usable; the other has been grounded due to safety issues.

The PCG also seeks to hire additional staff. It needs 25,000 to man major and secondary ports. But so far it only has 6,000 personnel for the more than 36,000 kms of coastline and 5,000 coastal barangays and 60 coastal provinces.

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