A group of local seafarers asked the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Migrant Workers to look into the operations of Chinese dredging vessels in Manila Bay that are allegedly employing foreign crew.
The Samahan ng Nagkaka-isang Marinong Pilipino alleged in a letter dated Dec. 18 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. Chinese vessels and crew are not permitted to do business in the Philippine domestic waters unless they are given a special permit by Maritime Industry Authority.
Sought for comment, Marina NCR regional director Marc Anthony Pascua 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.
China Harbour Engineering won contracts in 2019 for land reclamation project in Manila Bay.
Manila Standard tried to get comments from Benjamin Guo, deputy contractor’s representative for Pasay Reclamation Project of China Harbour, but he had yet to respond as of press time.
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.
It said China Harbor started hauling sand from Zambales province in May 2022.