Sea marshals have been deployed aboard shipping vessels going to Mindanao to protect people transiting through the Philippines from pirates.
As part of security measures to ensure safe sea travel the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will escort ships passing through Moro Gulf.
Commodore Lyndon Latorre, district commander of PCG-Central Visayas, said:
“Our priority is those going to high-risk areas,” Latorre said, referring to mostly cargo vessels en route to Zamboanga and Moro Gulf.
“Other passenger ships from Manila also have sea marshals aboard,”
The decision to deploy sea marshals came after an increase in requests from shipping lines asking for protection of their seagoing vessels.
The PCG district in Central Visayas has 16 sea marshals to provide escorts to the ships that travel through Zamboanga and the Moro Gulf. Of this number, a team of two marshals is assigned to each ship.
They are tasked to secure six cargo ships that depart for Mindanao from Cebu every month.
However, Latorre said the number of sea marshals is not enough, especially during peak season, leaving the PCG no choice but to rely on other government agencies.
“Right now, we need the help of other agencies because if it is passenger season, we lack personnel. But we are planning to have more monitoring stations,” the PCG official said.
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