The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday activated Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan (Safety at Sea) to help boost enforcement of maritime laws.
Vice Admiral Artemio Abu, together with Rear Admiral Joseph Coyme and Commodore Charlie Rance, will lead the task force composed of 19 task groups in all PCG districts.
The task force was created in line with Republic Act 9993 or the PCG Law of 2009.
“Through the activation of the PCG Task Force Kaligatasan sa Karagatan, PCG assets shall be utilized to intensify the enforcement of all domestic and international maritime laws, treaties, conventions, and applicable memorandum circulars issued by the PCG pertinent to maritime safety,” the PCG said in a Facebook post.
Abu, during a meeting of the task force, said the group would support the achievement of “the highest level of operational efficiency” of all aids to navigation in the country such as light stations and ocean buoys.
“We will be focusing only on activities that are doable, tangible, and with high impact on the safety aspect of our job, not to mention the desire to advance our sovereignty interest,” Abu said.
He noted the need to enhance coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority, specifically on the maintenance of PPA buoys.
“Coordination with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF – WPS) shall also be prioritized towards the swift installation of sovereign markers within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” Abu said.
One of its most important duties, he said, is to educate and develop PCG personnel by providing exercises and seminars related to maritime safety.
“They will be trained in manning Vessel Traffic Management System, deploying maritime search and rescue teams, and conducting marine casualty investigations, among others,” Abu said.
He said the task force would also ensure that PCG personnel are “highly skilled” in the implementation of vessel safety enforcement, port state control and recreational safety inspections.