The Office for Transport Security, an attached agency of the Department of Transportation, asked the Maritime Industry Authority for a meeting to probe the operations of a vessel in Manila Bay for allegedly carrying Chinese crew.
DOTr Undersecretary and OTS administrator Ma. O Aplasca in a letter dated Jan. 18 called for a meeting with Marina administrator Hernani Fabia and the agency’s service directors on the issue.
This followed DOTr Undersecretary for maritime Elmer Franciso’s verbal instructions to conduct verification on the vessel of Spectrum Marine and Shipmanagement Inc. which allegedly has “Chinese crew” operating within coastal waters of Manila Bay.
Aplasca assured that OTS would strengthen its partnership with Marina in compliance with the requirements of the International Ship and Port FacilityCode and OTS issuance for a safe and secured maritime transportation system in the country.
OTS is the single authority responsible for the security of the transportation systems of the country, including, but not limited to civil aviation, sea transport and maritime infrastructure, land transportation, rail system and infrastructure.
The Samahan ng Nagkaka-isang Marinong Pilipino earlier alleged in a letter dated Dec. 18, 2022 to Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople that majority of the crew members of foreign vessels operating in Manila Bay are not Filipinos.
The group said the vessels were supposed to be under a bareboat charter or temporarily under Philippine flag arrangement, but they continued to employ Chinese crew which is not allowed under the law.
Chinese vessels and crew are not permitted to do business in the Philippine domestic waters unless they are given a special permit by Marina, according to SNMP.
SNMP asked the Philippine Coast Guard, Marina and the Department of Labor and to inspect the foreign vessels that are being used in a reclamation project in Manila Bay.
Marina NCR regional director Marc Anthony Pascua had confirmed the agency issued the required permits to the vessels of China Harbour Engineering Corp. operating in Manila Bay.
“There are vessels of China Harbour issued with special permits or bareboat charter operating in Manila Bay,” he said.
Pascua said, however, that employment of Chinese crew under a BBC arrangement is not allowed.