The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), determined to staple security to the country’s eastern coastline, is getting everything ready to mitigate the risk of maritime incidents by eventually marking significant areas with marine Aids to Navigation (AtoN).
Admiral George Ursabia Jr, PCG Commandant, had announced the arrival of three of 10 modern Lighted Ocean Buoys that will enhance the PCG capability to safeguard, safely mark, and enforce activity restrictions on the Philippine Rise, formerly known as the Benham Rise.
Ursabia stressed the installation of the three buoys on the Philippine Rise will allow the PCG to mark the area for safe navigation for shipping and to ensure that all observe the area as being a critical part of Philippine territory and designated as a food supply exclusive zone.
At the same time, the Philippine government will be able to effectively enforce banning mining and exploration activities in the Rise Plateau, an extinct volcanic ridge in the Philippine Sea about 250 kilometers east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
In May 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte designated the 13 million-hectare (80,000 square kms) Rise a protected food supply exclusive zone.
Earlier on, Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya, PCG Deputy Commandant for Operations, said that due to the ecological importance of the Rise, a deep-water hybrid chain/dyneema mooring system was designed to ensure the mooring chain remains suspended from the ocean floor.
This would help avoid impact on the mesophotic coral formations which are endemic to the area.
Engr. Manuel Hernandez, M-NAV Solutions President, commenting on the deployment and activation of the modern Lighted Ocean Buoys at the Cebu Port, said: “This is a historic moment for the Philippines to officially deploy a marker in the Philippine Rise asserting her sovereign rights over the territory and its surrounding waters.”
He added in a statement: “M-NAV Solutions is fully supporting the Philippine Coast Guard by providing it with our most advanced technologies to enable it to meet its mission.”
The buoys were designed and manufactured by the leading international Marine Aids to Navigation company Mediterráneo Señales Maritimas, based in Valencia, Spain.
The supply and installation was awarded by the Philippine Coast Guard to M-NAV Solutions Inc., a Philippines-registered corporation, according to the highest standard of the Government Procurement System.
The three buoys are equipped with modern marine Aids to Navigation lanterns, specialized mooring systems, and shall integrate a remote monitoring system that utilizes satellite technology for the transmission of status data to the Maritime Safety Services Command-PCG Headquarters in San Antono, Cavite City.
Another seven buoys will be delivered to the PCG Maritime Safety and Services Command later this year.
Engr. Adrian van Boven, M-NAV Solutions AtoN Specialist, said all three buoys are marked and configured with rhythmic flash characteristics in accordance with the international requirements of IALA Recommendation, referring to the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities.
The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities, previously known as International Association of Lighthouse Authorities, is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1957 to collect and provide nautical expertise and advice.