Major changes are underway in the Philippine maritime accident investigation regime. The first cadre of a Philippine Coastguard, about 30, have just completed preliminary training at the PCG’s Maritime Safety and Services Command at Sangley Point and will return to their separate coastguard stations next week.
In essence, the Philippines is developing a maritime investigative capability from the keel up for the first time.
MAC’s Bob Couttie was a resource person for the seminars. He says: “There a very serious intent to professionalise maritime accident investigation and form a system much more responsive and appropriate to the 21st century”.
Under Republic Act 9993 issued in 2009 the country’s maritime accident investigations were placed under the Philippine Coastguard, which was separated from the Philippine Navy and placed under the Department of Transport and Communications. Currently only the Board of Marine Inquiry was available to examine maritime accidents in the Philippines. and has the establishment of liability as it primary aim, which conflicts with the revised IMO code for casualty investigation.
Currently the Philippines does not have an agency authorised to carry out non-liability based investigations and the PCG is looking at ways to over overcome a variety of issues raised by current legislation.