E-Bulletin March 2024

The Philippine Coast Guard

Through the good offices of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on 27 November  we learnt that the Service was due to install four aids to navigation, specifically navigational lanterns, in Batanes.

The previous day the PCG conducted a send-off ceremony for BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301)*, that will perform this operation.

According to PCG Deputy Commandant for Operations, CG Vice Admiral Rolando Lizor Punzalan Jr, the navigational lanterns will be installed in four critical lighthouses in Sabtang, Mahatao, Ivana, and Valanga.

These Coast Guard lighthouses guide motorbancas and vessels to ensure their safe passage and entry to ports and harbours. They also warn local fishermen and seafarers about the archipelagic province’s shallow and perilous rocky coasts.

Batanes is scattered over 4,500-square-kilometres of Philippine waters, the Luzon Strait and Balintang Channel, sea lanes between the Philippines and the southern parts of Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Provision of  aids to navigation

The PCG’s Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan (TFKsK) oversees this operation to intensify the enforcement of maritime safety laws, conventions, and treaties. These included port state control, aids to navigation, vessel safety, navigational safety, recreational safety, marine casualty investigation, maritime search and rescue, and training.

In May 2022, TFKsK installed five navigational buoys in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), specifically at Lawak, Likas, Pag-asa, and Parola islands.

Also present during the send-off ceremony of 26 November were TFKsK Commander, CG Rear Admiral Joseph Coyme; TFKsK Deputy Commander, CG Commodore Rommel Supangan; and Coast Guard Fleet Commander, CG Rear Admiral Charlie Rances.

*Film of this vessel, said to be the world’s largest aluminium Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) at launch and in service is available by You Tube here:

Rapporteur: Paul Ridgway

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