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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

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21 January 2009

SBMA, Coast Guard firm up deal on maritime safety

Anticipating greater growth of the maritime industry within the Subic Bay Freeport, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has entered into an agreement with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to bolster maritime safety and safeguard the marine environment here.

In a simple ceremony recently, SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga and PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) sealing both parties’ commitments for maritime cooperation.

“It is very timely that this kind of cooperation between government agencies like the SBMA and the Coast Guard is made, as this will keep (Subic Bay) safe and encourage more investors to come to here,” Salonga said.

“As you can see, more and more shipping and transshipment activities are coming to Subic Bay and companies are bringing in their ships to Subic rather than to any other port in the country for repair and other maritime services,” he said.

Salonga said that with the assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard, the SBMA could strengthen its capability in maintaining a competitive shipping industry in the region.

“As you can see, more and more shipping and transshipment activities are seen in Subic Bay and companies are bringing in their ships to Subic than in any other ports in the country for repair and other maritime services,” he said.

Under the agreement, the Philippine Coast Guard will assist the SBMA and its Seaport, Law Enforcement, Ecology, and Maritime Affairs departments in enforcing maritime regulations in this free port.

These include conducting safety and maritime security inspections of all vessels plying the free port waters, safeguarding the marine environment and making periodic water testing, maintaining and developing navigational aid systems, and conducting search and rescue, harbor patrol, and oil spill response operations.

The SBMA-PCG agreement also provided for joint operations against all illegal activities at-sea within the Freeport zone.

For his part, Tamayo said that Coast Guard Station Subic, which is under Lt. Elizier Dalnay, will directly coordinate with the SBMA to ensure that all these undertakings are met.

“We will deploy some of our vessels in Subic Bay to assist the SBMA in implementing maritime safety and humanitarian operations within and in contiguous areas of Subic Freeport,” Tamayo also pledged after signing the agreement.

Tamayo and Dalnay also lauded the SBMA for “adopting” the PCG station in Subic and allowing the free use of a building near SBMA’s Boton Wharf as PCG detachment and quarters.

Salonga said that aside from these provisions, the SBMA will allot some space for the PCG to establish a training school, as well as a site for the planned PCG Academy.

The SBMA official also said the cooperation agreement with PCG is necessary because of the presence of big-ticket maritime investments in the Subic Bay area. These include shipyard operations by Korean shipbuilder Hanjin, ship repair facilities of Subic Dock inside the Freeport, and the Philippine Shipping and Engineering Company (Philseco), which is undergoing expansion in the nearby town of Subic, Zambales. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO CAPTION:
SBMA-Coast Guard Agreement: SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga (right) seals a cooperation agreement with PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo. The accord aims to boost maritime safety in the Subic Bay area and promote further growth of the maritime industry.

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