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PCG on alert for Lent

The Philippine Coast Guard will be on alert status for the Lenten Season from April 5 to April 20.

PCG Officer-in-Charge Commodore Joel Garcia said yesterday that due to expected influx of ship passengers during Lent, stricter security measures in national ports and ferry terminals in the country will be enforced.

Garcia has directed all Coast Guard units to strictly implement maximum security measures and maintain regular monitoring of the seagoing public.

“It is part of our duty to ensure the safe and convenient sea travels of everyone who will utilize sea transport during the Lenten Season,” Garcia said.

With the expected rush, Garcia advised the public to be at the seaport at least three hours before departure time.

They were also reminded to avoid carrying prohibited cargoes such as flammable liquids and solids, corrosive materials, toxic and infectious substances, compressed gases, radioactive materials and explosives, and present complete documents if carrying firearms to avoid search delays and inconvenience.

Passengers riding on boats with open deck were urged to cooperate fully in the regulation on wearing of life jacket during the voyage.

Garcia said that ship inspectors and Coast Guard K-9 teams will conduct random checks on passengers and their luggage to ensure that no dangerous cargoes or explosive materials will be carried onboard passenger and cargo vessels.

Pre-departure inspections will be intensified to prevent ships from carrying passengers more than its capacity and to ensure that the vessels are seaworthy prior the departure, Garcia said.

Coast Guard units were also reminded to have adequate number of life-saving equipment onboard. Ships must also present all valid pertinent documents prior to granting of clearance to depart.

Passengers Assistance Center booths will be established in every port nationwide. The booths will be manned by the PCG and personnel from the Department of Transportation, Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, and the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, with close coordination with the Philippine National Police.

Coast Guard medical teams will also be placed. (Betheena Kae Unite)