Monday, 03 January 2011 16:05
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Saturday disclosed virtually zero major maritime accidents in 2010.
Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, PCG commandant, said no major accidents happened. “Virtually, it’s zero maritime accidents this year. No major accidents to speak of. We have two but it does not involved local vessels. These are foreign vessels but it happened in our waters,” Tamayo told reporters.
Tamayo said this showcased good working relationships and teamwork between neighboring coast guards.
The PCG commandant said this is largely attributed to lesser number of storms or weather disturbances, government’s more proactive preparations and the greater maritime safety consciousness or awareness on the part of shipowners, ships’ crew, and the riding public.
Apart from these, Tamayo noted the improved safety and security policies/standards and more stringent implementation of such policies/standards; improved PCG maritime communications system and sustained operational readiness and strategic deployment of maritime search and rescue (SAR) and disaster response assets;
More integrated early warning and recall system for fishermen and shipping during adverse weather conditions; and stronger partnership and cooperation among cognizant agencies and partner nations.
In the process and, in line with Zero Maritime Accident Program, some 9,577 lives were saved during SAR and disaster response operations and hundreds of thousands of maritime travelers and affected residents were rendered the much needed assistance in the flooded areas.
Prompt reported of perceived maritime safety violations, including vessels carrying excess passengers, or with suspected overloading of cargo, lacking lifesaving appliances, or encountering engine derangements at sea, or running aground had averted more serious problems, according to Tamayo.
With its QMS ISO 9001:2008 ISO Certified 24/7 Action Center, the Coast Guard thus managed more effective monitoring, reporting and coordination activities, and therefore, shorter response time to maritime incidents either by sending closest SAR assets or coordinating with closest vessels in the area to render assistance to a vessel in distress.
The biggest factor, according to Tamayo, is the enactment this year of RA 9993, otherwise known as the PCG Law of 2009, which provides the PCG more clearly defined enforcement authority on vessel safety and security, among others.
With an improved budget next year intended to beef up its personnel strength, sustain its seaborne and air patrols, SAR/disaster response missions, and likewise upgrade its equipment capability, the PCG gears up this year to further enhance its Presence, Preparedness, Partnership, Professionalism, and Passion to live up to its long tradition of service to the nation by ensuring safe, clean and secure maritime environment. (PNA)
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