The Maritime Industry Authority said over the weekend it is investigating the alleged “suspicious” activities of Chinese vessels operating in the Manila Bay, following the alarm raised by the National Coast Watch Center—an inter-agency maritime surveillance and coordinated response facility.
“Based on the special report of NCWC, several foreign vessels were allegedly engaged on suspicious activities and were observed to be operating outside their approved areas of operation as against the issued special permit by MARINA,” the agency said in a report.
The NCWC, which is led by the Philippine Coast Guard, earlier reported that the Chinese vessels were operating without a dredging clearance from the Department of Public Works and Highways and no environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
NCWC also said the Chinese dredgers had no memorandum of agreement with the DENR and no accreditation from the MGB.
“The NCWC also asserted that the Chinese dredgers allegedly failed to secure a ‘No Objection Clearance’ from the Office of the National Security Adviser,” MARINA said.
Another issue flagged by the NCWC, based on the MARINA report, was that the Chinese dredgers had been operating with false Automatic Identification System which allows the authorities to properly monitor and record their exact movements inside Philippine territorial waters, and that they turned off their AIS during operation and while berthed.
The NCWC Special Report WAS endorsed by Malacanang through Deputy Executive Secretary for general administration Naealla Bainto Aguinaldo on Nov. 29, 2022 for appropriate action to MARINA.
NCWC is an inter-agency maritime surveillance and coordinated response center led by the Philippine Coast Guard and is attached to the Office of the President through the Office of the Executive Secretary. It is the operating arm of the National Coast Watch System.
The National Coast Watch System is in turn run by the National Coast Watch Council which is its brain and nerve center that acts as the central body that provides strategic direction and promulgates policy guidelines.
It is chaired by the Executive Secretary and is composed of government agencies including the Department of Transportation, the DENR, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Finance and the Department of Interior and Local Government.