PCG tightens maritime security over alleged reports of theft, robbery and piracy
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) tightened its maritime security operation following reports about the alleged increasing theft, robbery and piracy at sea incidents in Manila and Batangas ports by the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) of the Singaporean Navy.
Commodore Armando Balilo, PCG spokesman, said upon receipt of report, “Philippine Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral George Ursabia Jr immediately directed all stations and sub-stations under the Coast Guard District National Capital Region ? Central Luzon (CGDNCR-CL) and the Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog (CGDSTL) to intensify intelligence gathering and maritime patrol operations in the vicinity waters of Manila Bay and Southern Luzon to prevent or deter the occurrence of said incidents."
“Port personnel of CGDNCR-CL and CGDSTL also increased the conduct of boarding inspections on suspicious vessels and watercraft roaming in the said vicinity waters during nighttime as part of the intensified maritime security measures,” he said.
In its report, the IFC said the recorded incidents in Manila and Batangas ports from January to August of 2020 has increased to 10 compared to two incidents recorded in the same period of 2019 and three incidents in 2018.
The report shows that seven of the incidents happened in Manila where “only small items were stolen without any damage to the vessel” while three in Batangas where the “perpetrators were armed with knives and in one case crew was harmed by the perpetrators.”
“The perpetrators were observed to be confrontational in these three incidents as compared to the past incidents,” the report stated.
It also shows that the 10 incidents were recorded in five container ships, three tankers, one cargo vessel, and one bulk carrier.
Balilo said last Thursday morning, BRP Malapascua apprehended two motorboats for violation of the DOTr Memorandum Circular No. 2017 - 001 concerning the implementation of the Safety, Security, and Environmental Numbering (SSEN) System for all Philippine-registered vessels or watercraft.
“(The) circular is implemented by assigning a unique identification number for each vessel or watercraft to enhance maritime security within the Philippine maritime jurisdiction by preventing the usage of SSEN-registered vessels and watercraft in the conduct of maritime infractions such as robbery, piracy, and terrorism,” he said.
“The PCG is also actively coordinating with various law enforcement agencies and local government units to ensure that the Philippine waters, especially its crew change hubs, are safe and secured for the conduct of all activities related to the movement and growth of the international maritime industry,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS