PCG intensifies guard vs overloading

May 21, 2010 8:18 pm 

MANILA, May 21 –The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Friday it strictly enforces its policy against overloading as it expects an influx of passengers in time for school opening.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, PCG commandant, had alerted the entire PCG amid reports of overloading of vessels, especially in Mindanao.

Tamayo said he received reports that a vessel with 700-ton capacity will accommodate 1,000 passengers on board this school opening.

He said the Coast Guard personnel ordered the off loading of the 300 passengers of a vessel plying the Bongao, Tawi-Tawi to Zamboanga route.”

At present, the number of vessels passengers increased to 15 percent.

“But it would increase more in the coming days as the opening of classes is fast approaching,” said Tamayo.

The PCG’s intensified patrolling and monitoring in line with Friday’s launching of the “Oplan Kahandaan.”

Tamayo said the move would be implemented not only during the opening of classes but for the preparation for the onset of the rainy season as well.

“With the coming peak season brought about by the opening of the school year in all levels, both public and private schools starting June 2010, the influx of passengers availing of sea transport departing from or coming to Manila and other urban areas, and to or from the province and vice versa is highly anticipated, thus seaports and passengers vessels are expected to be crowded with maritime travelers," the PCG head said in his letter of instruction that was circulated to all stations and districts.

He also said that this early, the PCG started preparing for rainy season. The country annually hosts 20 typhoons, producing heavy rains, strong winds and floods.

The PCG has often been tapped to extend help for the search and rescue missions in times of disasters.

As part of its proactive measures, Tamayo said , the PCG would coordinate with shipowners, operators, masters, and other cognizance agencies with regards to the strict and proper conduct of mandatory pre-departure inspections (MPDI).

The PCG is also making sure there would be adequate and proper cargo lashing on board vessels. “We also check the complete lifesaving appliances and firefighting equipment on board; and ensure the safe and orderly conduct of embarkation of passengers and loading of cargo strictly within the vessel’s authorized capacity,” he said.

It would also consider the good operating condition of the vessels’ main and auxiliary machines/engines; close monitoring of maritime incidents by respective command center and high state of preparedness to promptly and effective respond to such incidents; obtain latest weather forecast from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) and strictly implement the guidelines on movement of vessels during heavy weather; and the setting up of the help desks. (PNA) RMA/JES

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