Three of the Philippine’s container ports have been judged significantly improved in the conduct of the United States Coast Guard’s International Port Security Program (IPSP) following a recent visit by the USCG.
The three are the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC), Davao International Container Terminal (DICT) and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the Philippines Department of Transportation (DOTr) said in a statement.
“We appreciate the USCG team for the visit and the assessment, as this will give us the baseline for our security standards as maritime trading partners. We value all efforts that will further enhance our interdependence leading to mutual prosperity,” said transportation secretary Arthur Tugade.
The Philippines would work to raise security standards in container terminals across the archipelago nation, he added.
Helpfully, the USCG had pointed out a number of areas where improvement was necessary.
These were: “continuous monitoring of CCTVs; implementation of uniform security measures throughout the perimeter fence; employees’ identification and security tags must bear expiry dates or have it color-coded; having a clear and direct communication link between the port facility security officer and ship's security officer.”
The USCG also wanted improved security measures for cruise terminal operations, particularly in Subic, and for cargo drivers to be subject to random inspections.
An in-country visit is conducted in all countries servicing US-flagged vessels engaged in international trade. It aims to facilitate sharing of port security best practices and develop the security of ships coming in and out of the United States, the statement explained.
A typical USCG visit will cover issues such as port facility and vessel vulnerability assessment, security plan approval process leading to the issuance of an international ship security certificate and evaluation of security measures at a representative port or series of ports to verify compliance with the IPSP, the statement added.
“Our strong partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard bears proven positive results over the years. With this, we will continue to work hard to improve our security measures in our ports and carry on with this breakthrough. Rest assured, necessary steps will be taken for our ports to comply with the standards of the International Port Security Program,” Tugade said.
By Michael Mackey
Southeast Asia Correspondent | Bangkok