PCG bares measures to prevent another Princess of the Stars tragedy

June 21, 2010 9:48 pm 

MANILA, June 21 –The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it has undertaken actions geared towards strengthening preventive measures and improving the response systems to sea disaster like the sinking of the Princess of the Stars on June 21, 2008.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo,PCG commandant, told Acting Transportation and Communications Secretary Anneli Lontoc that the actions undertaken by the agency included the improved circular on weather, broadcasting of weather bulletin through NAVTEX, joint operation of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) centers.

The PCG also installed meteorological buoys to improve weather forecasting; implemented PCG- Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) communications operation; formed a Coast Guard deployable response group; promulgated the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) and Infrastructure Development such as PCG SAR Base in Romblon, PCG Buoy Base in Mactan, and PCG SAR Base in Laguindingan, Cagayan de Oro.

The PCG Memorandum Circular No. 01-09 entitled, “Guidelines on Movement of Vessels During Heavy Weather”, is a pro-active, preventive, and acceptable guidelines to the industry.

The Circular contains the provisions that only vessels of 1,000 GT and above may sail when PSWS number 1 is declared and that no vessel shall sail when PSWS number 2 is raised in a vessel’s origin or route or destination. Further, only vessels taking shelter shall be allowed to sail during said PSWS numbers, provided that no passenger is onboard.

The new sailing regulation also integrates crucial safeguards and innovations including a typhoon projection method designed by PAGASA; emphasis on the proper stowage and lashing of cargoes while in port or underway; designation of cargo watches who shall be posted during the entire duration of the voyage or sheltering to ensure the safe condition of cargo lashings; maintenance of communication between ship owners and their vessels while underway or during sheltering every 30 minutes and; for vessels to take no other option except to take shelter when while underway are caught in a typhoon signal where they are not allowed to sail. (PNA) RMA/JES

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