by Irma A. Guhit
SORSOGON CITY, August 11 (PIA) — Anchored on the theme: Ensuring Maritime Safety through Partnerships and Unity of Action, the Coast Guard Station Sorsogon (CGSS) conducted a simultaneous exercise with member agencies working on disaster risk reduction and management on how to implement a search and rescue operation at sea last Tuesday, August 9 at the vicinity waters of Matnog.
The scenario involved a collision of two ferry vessels, one vessel caught fire, and where passengers of both vessels panicked and jumped at sea, members of the disaster risk reduction management group were in full view and observed how the Philippine Coast Guard implements its full capability in a search and rescue operation.
“The Operational Plan for the Search and Rescue was prepared by the CGSS in cooperation with the Matnog Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MMDRRO) together with the 5 owners of the ferry vessels operating at Matnog Port, the Philippine Ports Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard Auxillary Squadron”, Lt. JG Jose Ronnie T. Ong , Jr. Station commander of the Coast Guard Station Sorsogon here, said in an interview.
The actual scenario that implemented the exercise comprised of ,the CGSS headed by Capt. Steven James Dino, the Operation Command Unit 904th Philippine Coast Guard Auxillary Squadron ; LCDR James Paul Angeles PCGA ; officers and Crew of MV Grand Star Roro 3, vessel Jobbet, MV Mac Bryan and MV Maria Ursula. Members of the Matnog Bantay Dagat; the CG Medical Team , volunteer members of the Phlilippine Red Cross, Sorsogon Chapter ; and Matnog MDRRMC were participants to the exercise.;
At exactly 10:00 AM, the narrator of the CGSS, Capt Dino, instructed the observers to board the MV Montenegro while those who will do the critiquing on the implementation were aboard the MV HANSEL JOBBET, MV MAC BRYAN AND MV URSULA.
The observers were invited guests from the National Telecommunication Network (NTC), Provincial Government of Sorsogon, Philippine Information Agency, representatives from the Local Government of Matnog , Philippine Red Cross, Sorsogon Chapter, members of the media community comprising of DZGN-Spirit FM, UNTV and ABS-CBN aboard the MV Montenegro observed the undertaking and documentation of the process.
Capt.Steven James Dino of the PCGAS acted as the narrator. He explained that the capability of the PCGAS in providing the right information and instructions to those who would perform the search and rescue was very vital in an event such as to be witnessed.
According to , Capt. Tranquilino G.Paiton of the Philippine Coast Guard (GSC) who lead the critiquing session, rated the whole event with a very satisfactory result and congratulated those participating agencies in the conduct of the drill.
“It was noteworthy to see that the CGSS here was fully knowledgeable of the processes from communication to action and to the final rescue operation and the putting out of fire in the vessel was very calmly and efficiently conducted”, Paiton said.
After the critiquing, the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into by the Philippine Coast Guard represented by Capt Paiton, the Provincial Government of Sorsogon represented by Mr. Daniel Jasmin , the Bicol RORO Operators as represented by their different managers and the local government of Matnog.
The MOA provides complementation efforts and partnership of agencies involved in implementing search and rescue operations and protocols to be followed. (PIA-SORSOGON)