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Thursday, May 2, 2019

3 PHL Container Ports Get Stamp of Approval in US Coast Guard Assessment



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Three of the country’s international container ports were found to have significantly improved in the conduct of the International Port Security Program (IPSP) Country Assessment by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) last 1-5 April 2019.

These ports are the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC), Davao International Container Terminal (DICT), and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed the positive security assessment given by the USCG, and promised to further improve security protocols in container terminals and seaports nationwide.

“We appreciate the USCG Team for the visit and the assessment, as this will give us the baseline for our security standards as maritime trading partners. We value all efforts that will futher enhance our interdependence leading to mutual prosperity,” the transportation chief said.

An in-country visit is conducted in all countries servicing US-flagged vessels engaged in international trade. This aims to facilitate sharing of port security best practices and development of mutual interests in securing ships coming in and out of the United States.

Included in a typical USCG visit are several observations such as port facility and vessel vulnerability assessment; security plan approval process leading to the issuance of an International Ship Security Certificate; and evaluation of security measures at a representative port or series of ports to verify compliance with the IPSP.

The USCG team provided its positive observations during the exit briefing held on 5 April 2019 at the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) in Pasay City. The briefing highlighted the exerted efforts of concerned parties in applying corrective measures on the observations reported on the said ports in 2015.

With this development, the USCG Team also pointed out areas that need to be improved in the said ports such as continuous monitoring of CCTVs; implementation of uniform security measures throughout the perimeter fence; employees Identification and Security Tags must bear expiry dates or have it color-coded; having a clear and direct communication link between the Port Facility Security Officer and ship's Security Officer; cargo Drivers should randomly be subjected to body search or inspection; and the improvement of security measures for Cruise Terminal Operation particularly in Subic.

“Our strong partneship with the U.S. Coast Guard bears proven positive results over the years. With this, we will continue to work hard to improve our security measures in our ports and carry on with this breakthrough. Rest assured, necessary steps will be taken for our ports to comply with the standards of the International Port Security Program,” Secretary Tugade said.

Present in the briefing were DOTr Assistant Secretary for Maritime Lino Dabi, on behalf of Secretary Tugade, OTS Deputy Administrator Miguel Oraa, Director for Transport Security Oversight and Compliance Service Gerardo Gambala and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), MICT, DICT, and the SBITC.

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