PCG ups oil spill response operation by signing pact with British firm

By Betheena Unite

Response to oil spill incidents in Philippine waters is expected to improve as the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Monday to enhance the country’s capability to conduct such operations.

Both organizations will bank on local and international resources to improve the country’s capability to respond to oil spill incidents, the Coast Guard said. OSRL is a British company that specializes in the global fight against oil spills.

Philippine Coast Guard (MANILA BULLETIN) Philippine Coast Guard (MANILA BULLETIN)

“By integrating local and international resources for the building of comprehensive communication systems, generating baseline information, and increasing pool of expertise, OSRL and PCG believe that the marine environmental hazards of sea navigation will continue to be reduced significantly, amid modernization of the maritime industry,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Vice Admiral George Ursabia, of the PCG – Marine Environment Protection Command (MEPCOM), at the signing of the MOU expressed his gratitude to OSRL for their willingness to assist the PCG in improving the knowledge, skills, and expertise of MEPCOM personnel in containing, mitigating, and recovering spilled oil in Philippine waters.

Regional Director for Asia Pacific of OSRL Darren Waterman, on the other hand, said that “protecting the oceans and seas from the negative impacts of oil spills” is their priority “to uphold marine environment protection.”

“The PCG remains at the forefront of protecting the country’s marine environment by actively responding to marine pollution incidents, strengthening its manpower, and improving its equipment and resources for the benefit of the future generation,” said Captain Rudyard Somera of the PCG’s National Operation Center for Oil Pollution.

The PCG has been acquiring various vessels that aim to increase the organization’s capability in responding to sea incidents. It was announced that the PCG will acquire two 94-meter multi-role response vessels, tagged as the future biggest patrol ships of the Philippine Coast Guard, to further modernize the organization in performing its missions.