DoTr wants probe on Chinese vessels swamping Manila Bay

(Photo: Philippine Coast Guard)

The Office for Transport Security of the Department of Transportation will investigate the alleged swamping of Chinese dredgers and their crew in Manila Bay waters, to ensure that the country is protected from any intrusion that may endanger both local resources and workers.

On 18 January, OTS administrator Ma. O Ranada Aplasca reached out to Maritime Industry Authority administrator Atty. Hernan H. Fabia through a letter to verify the operations of the Spectrum Marine and Shipmanagement, Inc. vessel within the coastal waters of Manila Bay.

Aplasca’s letter, which was obtained by the Daily Tribune on Friday, said Transportation Undersecretary for Maritime Elmer Francisco U. Sarmiento directed the monitoring of the presence of the vessel in the area.

The OTS set a meeting with the service directors of Marina or their representatives on Friday to discuss the matter. Marina has issued no comments as of press time.

To recall, a group of Filipino seamen complained to the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Migrant Workers earlier this month over Chinese dredgers allegedly swamping Manila Bay.

The group warned that Chinese dredgers were reportedly using the same vessels to reclaim islands in the West Philippine Sea. They said the vessels that were supposed to be bareboat charters, which should be temporarily under the Philippine flag arrangement, were employing Chinese crew.

Per a Marina resolution, Chinese vessels and their crew are not allowed to do business in local waters unless they secure a special permit from the agency.

However, Marina NCR regional director Engr. Marc Anthony Pascua, in a phone interview, said the agency — mandated to develop and regulate the maritime industry — is on full alert for any intrusion, especially in Manila Bay where a reclamation project is ongoing. (Maria Romero)


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