11 February 2013

Strike Hampers Subic Port Operations

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – A strike by employees of the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corporation (SALVTUG), led by the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), almost crippled this seaport operations here over the weekend.

Six vessels, including a US naval supply ship, were left at the open sea waiting for their escort tugboats that were docked due to a strike initiated by SALVTUG employees. The loss of service to these vessels would have meant a loss of millions of pesos worth of income for the government.

In a text message, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia stated, “I hope strike is resolved soon.”

He added that both Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Philippines (Hanjin) and Keppel are helping out with the predicament, ensuring that port operations here are not paralyzed and are normal.

According to an anonymous source, the strike stemmed from employees who want to have the same rate as that of their international counterpart. He added that the average salary of the employees there were more than R40,000.

He said that to them it was a question of principle, but to him, it was a question of patriotism. He added that if the employees could jeopardize the country’s port operations, the protesting employees will not only succeed in doing so but might also disrupt the country’s economic state.

SALVTUG was established in November 1974 with three (3) ocean-going coastal tugs and four (4) dry cargo and bulk oil barges. Over the years, the company has kept paced with the development of Asian Ports and has continued its modernization program. Presently, the fleet has grown to thirty one (31) multi-tasked tugs, two (2) specialized crafts, one (1) crew boat, thirteen (13) barges of various types and two (2) floating dry docks.

SALVTUG and its Western Pacific Associates specialize in Ocean Towage, Marine Salvage, Logistical Support, Cargo Recovery, Wreck Removal, Underwater Operations, Barging, Anchor Handling, Buoy Installation and Ocean-Spill Cleanup in the territorial waters of the Philippines, South China Sea and the Western Pacific Ocean.(Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)