Tuesday, October 26, 2021
HomeBreaking NewsCebu port eases accreditation rules for harbor pilots

Cebu port eases accreditation rules for harbor pilots

  • The newly released Cebu Port Authority Administrative Order 2 series of 2021 no longer requires harbor pilots servicing Cebu ports to be a member of a pilotage association
  • All pilot associations/organizations, or any association/organization, are also no longer required to secure accreditation from the port authority
  • The age requirement for applicant harbor pilots has been raised to 65 years old from 60
  • All provisional accreditations as of May 31, 2021 will be valid until December 31, 2021
  • Another accreditation will be issued effective January 1, 2022 and will be valid depending on certain conditions

The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) eased its rules on accreditation of harbor pilots, no longer requiring harbor pilots servicing Cebu ports to be a member of a pilotage association.

CPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 2 series of 2021 (AO 2-2021) also no longer requires accreditation by CPA of pilot associations/organizations, or any association/organization.

CPA-accredited harbor pilots (CAHP), however, remain free to form or join an association or organization.

AO 2-2021 takes effect 15 days after its two consecutive publications on September 30 and October 1.

Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association (PISA) executive director Atty. Pedro Aguilar, during a public hearing last June 17 on the then proposed AO, welcomed CPA’s proposal, particularly on removing the need for a harbor pilot to join a certain pilot association.

READ: CPA eyes revised rules on Cebu harbor pilot accreditation

He noted this is a better approach than the practice in other ports, particularly in Manila, where a pilot must be a member of an association to be able to render service.

A CAHP is a licensed harbor pilot accredited by CPA to provide pilotage service on any vessel of more than 500 gross revenue tonnage (GRT) engaged in foreign and coastwise trade within the Cebu pilotage district.

A CAHP is solely responsible for any damage caused to a vessel, life, or property due to his/her negligence or fault as proven after an investigation by a competent authority.

AO 2-2021 repeals all other issuances that are inconsistent, in particular certain provisions of CPA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 08-98, which was issued in June 1998 and provides implementing guidelines on pilotage service, and CPA AO 02-98, also issued in 1998 and provides rules governing pilotage services, the conduct of pilots, and pilotage in Cebu ports.

Under AO 2-2021, the shipping line or its agent/representative or vessel operator will have the prerogative to choose a harbor pilot from among the CAHPs, as well as the appropriate equipment and facilities that will best ensure the vessel moves safely in the pilotage district.

Previously under CPA AO 02-98, the pilot organization made the equipment available, as required by CPA.

An Evaluation Committee for Accreditation of Harbor Pilots will still be created to verify and process all applications and evaluate the qualifications of all applicants. The committee will also recommend qualified applicants according to CPA-established criteria.

The general manager will designate any organic personnel from the Harbor Control Center (HCC) to act as secretariat of the committee, with the secretariat keeping records as necessary and releasing the accreditation to the grantee.

Age limit raised

Harbor pilot applicants must be Filipino citizens not more than 65 years old when the accreditation became effective. The previous age limit under AO 02-98 was 60 years old.

The new AO also removes the condition set in AO 02-98 that incumbent pilots who were presently more than 60 years old would not be covered by this limitation and could continue as pilots for two years or until reaching age 70, whichever came first, unless disqualified for other reasons.

AO 2-2021, however, states that applicants for accreditation and incumbent CPA-accredited harbor pilots within the ages of 60 to 65 should submit a medical certificate to be issued by a Department of Health-accredited physician following the conduct of a medical examination, attesting to the applicant’s fitness for duty.

The applicant must be of sound physical and mental condition, and must be a licensed harbor pilot in the pilotage district of Cebu.

AO 2-2021 likewise amends Section 3 of Article IV of AO 02-98. Instead of the chairman of the CPA board of commissioners issuing accreditation of pilots as prescribed under AO 02-98, the CPA general manager will now do so upon recommendation of the evaluation committee.

The term of accreditation will begin on the first day of January until the CAHP reaches 65 years of age, when the accreditation is deemed automatically terminated, unless sooner revoked or cancelled.

Furthermore, the CAHP must maintain a valid harbor pilot license or the accreditation will be suspended automatically. Within one year from the date of suspension, the CAHP must submit to CPA a valid harbor pilot license to retain accreditation. Otherwise, the accreditation will be deemed automatically cancelled.

If the applicant’s accreditation has been approved, an accreditation fee of P10,000 must be paid for its release.

Moreover, the harbor pilot should post a P1 million indemnity bond in favor of CPA to cover any liability arising from any accident resulting in damage to vessels, port facilities and other properties, and/or injury to persons or death which may be caused by performance of pilotage duties. Previously under AO 02-98, an indemnity bond of P3 million was required from the pilot association.

As a transitory provision, all existing provisional accreditations as of May 31,2021 will be valid only until December 31, 2021. Another accreditation will be issued effective January 1, 2022, valid until the incumbent harbor pilot reaches 65 years of age, subject to the requirement of a fit for duty medical certificate.

For incumbent CPA-accredited harbor pilots above 65 years old but not over 70 on January 1, 2022, these are the applicable conditions: the term will be one year starting January 1, 2022 until December 31, 2022, subject to the requirement of a fit for duty medical certificate; or if the preceding condition is no longer applicable, the term will be less than one year until the pilot reaches the age of 70, subject to the requirement of a fit for duty medical certificate.

The incumbent pilot should likewise post the required indemnity bond before a new accreditation is issued.

Upon effectivity of AO 2-2021, all masters/captains of vessels of Philippine registry with more than 500 GRT will no longer be required to be accredited by CPA.

But they need to register at the HCC and submit an appropriate Certificate of Competency per Maritime Industry Authority MC No. MS-2020-03, series of 2020.

Should they fail to register and submit the required competency, the shipping line or its agent/representative or vessel operator should engage the services of a CAHP. – Roumina Pablo

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