By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District in Western Visayas (CGDWV) said they only recorded five maritime-related incidents last year.
CGDWV commander Captain Weniel Azcuna, since assuming command in November of last year, said the five incidents recorded required the PCG to initiate rescue operations.
Azcuna said the most serious incident recorded was the malfunction of M/V Weesam Express 6’s rudder in October, forcing them to stop the vessel in the middle of the Iloilo Strait.
No one was hurt in the incident.
He said the other noteworthy incidents that took place recently involved tourist boats in Carles, Iloilo and in Capiz.
The CGDWV commander said most maritime-related incidents were caused by mechanical issues in the vessels.
Meanwhile, Azcuna awarded two Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) personnel who played a key role in the rescue operation during the Weesam Express 6 incident last year.
Azcuna awarded the Search and Rescue Merit ribbon to Auxiliary Captain Noel Imalay and 618th PCGA squadron’s Auxiliary Commander Rolando Corona, Jr.
Imalay and Corona led the rescue operation by dispatching the tugboats Arcturus and Sadr, and participated in towing the troubled vessel to Bredco Port in Bacolod City.
At least 172 passengers and crew were rescued.
PCGA to hold regional district convention today
Meanwhile, the PCGA in Negros Occidental will hold this year’s Western Visayas District Convention at a hotel in Bacolod today.
Azcuna said he is very much happy to see young people more interested in joining, not just the PCG itself, but also the PCGA.
He pointed out the importance of holding the convention, as the PCG sees the PCGA as their main partner in upholding maritime safety and marine environmental protection.
Azcuna said he expects station commanders from PCG and the PCGA in the region will discuss how to further improve and expand their collaboration and partnerships during the convention.
“So far I’m very impressed as to how our PCGA units in Western Visayas are working,” Azcuna said.
The PCGA serves as a support force to the PCG in ensuring saving lives and property at sea, the preservation of the marine environment, the conduct of maritime search and rescue, the maintenance of aids to navigation, recreational safety, and other activities involving maritime relations./DGB, WDJ