PHL, Chinese Coast Guard hold joint maritime drills in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020   •   601

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard and Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combating fire at sea in the waters off the Philippine capital.

In a statement, the PCG said participating Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario involving a vessel that caught fire while transiting Manila waters.

In response, the PCG deployed its 44-meter multi-role response vessel 4401, BRP Tubbataha, while the Chinese team dispatched vessel 5204. Both ships were equipped with water cannons used in firefighting assistance.

Five passengers and eight crew aboard the distressed ship were also rescued using rigid hull inflatable boats with rescue swimmers to aid the victims.

The PCG said the drill allows coast guard personnel to exercise interoperability and strengthen their capabilities in responding to such crises.

The joint maritime drills on search and rescue, and combating fire at sea are part of the week-long activities of Chinese Coast Guard’s port call in Manila.

The visit aims to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between the Philippines and China Coast Guard in a bid to promote maritime security and maritime law enforcement amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

PH Coast Guard commissions new helicopter to service

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has commissioned into service one of its two new Airbus H145 light twin-engine helicopters.

In a statement, the PCG said its Commandant, Vice Admiral George Ursabia graced the “simple and private ceremony” on Thursday at the Coast Guard Aviation Force Hangar in the Domestic Airport Complex.

The PCG said the new air asset from Germany is a four-tonne-class twin-engine helicopter equipped with high-frequency radios, emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, and searchlight.

It is also equipped with electro-optical systems to perform critical missions including search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol, and maritime law enforcement.

The PCG said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the new helicopter is being utilized in transporting personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and medical supplies in various cities and provinces across the country to support the nationwide battle for public health and safety.

Stranded whale rescued in Bagac, Bataan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 19, 2020

A stranded pilot whale was rescued along the coastal waters of a private beach resort in Bagac, Bataan on Monday (June 15).

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) rescued the short-finned whale and immediately brought her to a nearby lagoon. Upon evaluation, the pilot whale was found to be weak and under stress. It is approximately three meters in length.

“The concerned veterinarian provided her with anti-stress antibiotics and took blood samples to further determine her health condition,” the PCG said in a post.

The PCG said they will continue to monitor the whale until full recovery before releasing it back into the ocean. AAC

Chinese-registered dredger runs aground off Zambales – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday said it has deployed a response team to conduct a survey and inspection operations on a dredger that ran aground off the coast of Botolan, Zambales.

The PCG said the Chinese-registered dredger, MV Zhong Hai 69 Alfa, was grounded last Sunday, June 14 approximately 200 meters off Barangay Bangan.

The survey and inspection conducted by the PCG response team showed that the vessel’s engine room and its compartments have been flooded with seawater.

The team, however, assured there are no signs of oil leaking from the grounded dredger.

The PCG-Zambales said the operator of the ship, Z2K Resources Inc., has pledged to procure additional bilge pumps to be used in the dewatering of the flooded vessel.

PCG Commandant Vice-Admiral George Ursabia Jr. assured that the salvage of the grounded dredger will be strictly supervised by the PCG and that there will be continuous monitoring of the situation.

“The PCG remains on top of the situation. We do not want to add another burden to the current crisis we are facing. Most of all, we do not want the local residents in the area to bear the negative consequences of this situation, especially with the possible harm it can cause to the local marine environment,” Ursabia said.

The PCG is now working round-the-clock to supervise the salvaging of the dredger, he added.

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