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Northern Samar seeks PCG help to check passing foreign vessels

CATARMAN: The local government of Mapanas, Northern Samar, has asked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to increase its presence in their town for the surveillance of foreign ships after the recent spotting of a Chinese research vessel nearby.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mapanas Mayor Ronn Michael Tejano said the presence of PCG will help them get updates on the passage of any foreign vessel with suspicious activities.

‘We are also appealing to capacitate us to monitor our sea, especially with more foreign vessels passing near the Pacific towns of Northern Samar,’ Tejano said.

On the night of April 28, a Chinese-flagged research vessel was seen slowly moving approximately 78 nautical miles northeast off Mapanas town.

The mayor said fishermen don’t have actual sightings of any foreign vessels since the area is very far from our shorelines. Local fishermen can only reach up to 15 kilometers from the shore.

‘If there are incidents like this, we hope there’s a Coast Guard monitoring vessel for easy repor
ting,’ the mayor added.

PCG Northern Samar station deputy commander Ensign Bryhl Amay told reporters that the Chinese vessel was on a very slow speed.

‘We have no capability to get close to the site since we don’t have floating assets. We just conducted a security patrol and inquired from fishermen,’ Amay said.

The PCG in Eastern Visayas has only one ship — the BRP Capones that was acquired from Japan in 2017 — and is most often in Ormoc City, where its regional headquarters is situated.

Mapanas is a fifth-class town in Northern Samar with a population of 14,234 people, with about 3,000 families mainly dependent on fishing.

The fishing grounds of the Pacific towns in Northern Samar serve as breeding places for various species like Spanish mackerel, grouper, tuna, big-eyed scad, herring, anchovies, salmon, round scad, and siganids, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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