DUMAGUETE CITY – The Philippine Coast Guard in Negros Oriental is gaining headway in its Safety and Security Environmental Numbering (SSEN) System of motorboats and other vessels as mandated by law.
Lt. Junior Grade Donna Liza Ramacho, commander of the Coast Guard Station in Dumaguete City, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental, disclosed Thursday afternoon that over 1,000 vessels have already been SSEN-registered in their area of operations.
The Coast Guard here covers the provinces of Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Ramacho explained that in Dumaguete City alone, they have already conducted the SSEN vessel registration in Barangays Calindagan, Looc, Tinago and a few other coastal areas.
The same is true with the Tandayag, Amlan CG Sub-station which covers Tanjay City and Bais City, the Bayawan City CG Sub-station covering the southern towns, the Guihulngan City CG Sub-station in the north and the whole of Siquijor province, she said.
The SSEN vessel registration is mandated under the Department of Transportation Memorandum Circular 2017-001, dated May 31, 2017, in response to the Marawi siege/crisis last year, according to her.
President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered to expedite the implementation of this memorandum circular to help monitor terrorists at sea, which is the easiest and most convenient escape route for them, Ramacho pointed out.
Some Coast Guard stations in Mindanao are already, in fact, conducting apprehensions now of vessels that have not been registered under the SSEN, as their registration is already 100 percent complete.
For the Coast Guard Station in Dumaguete, they target to finish in their AOR the SSEN vessel registration hopefully before the end of the 2nd quarter of this year, Ramacho said.
She reminded owners and operators of vessels, though, that even if their units are SSEN-registered, they are still subject to apprehension if found with other violations, such as safety requirements of the Maritime Industry Authority.
The Coast Guard personnel in the different areas here personally go to the barangays for the registration of the vessels, and paint them with the code and serial number assigned to each unit in the port and starboard sides of the vessel.
The SSEN vessel registration is for free.
With the serial numbers assigned to these vessels, Lt. Junior Grade Ramacho noted that law enforcement will receive a boost as it would now be easier to run a trace of sea crafts involved in particular incidents.
She cited as an example a recent incident in Siaton, Negros Oriental where one fisherman was killed while his companion managed to escape when an unidentified banca opened fire at them at sea.
Witnesses could only describe the sea craft but could not give other details.
Also, with the SSEN vessel registration, it is now easier to detect the homeport or origin of a vessel, which may be spotted in the province.
All vessels plying within the Philippine waters are required to register and acquire a serial number from the Coast Guard, Ramacho said. (PNA)