CPA to install 10 buoys

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

GENERAL Manager Edmund Tan yesterday said the Cebu Port Authority (CPA)appropriated P52 million last Aug. 29 to buy 10 navigational buoys to guide outgoing and incoming vessels in the Mactan Channel in response to the recommendation of the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI).

The BMI, which is chaired by Rear Admiral Luis Tuazon Jr., reviewed the investigation on the collision of Mv St. Thomas Aquinas and Mv Sulpicio Express 7 and recommended the installation of buoys in Mactan Channel.


The BMI found that due to lack of guides, Sulpicio Express 7 skippered by Capt. Rolito Gilo was sailing in the inbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) instead of the outbound lane because it was going out of Cebu City port for Davao City.

On the other hand, the BMI also found that St. Thomas Aquinas under vessel master Capt. Reynan Bermejo was running at 16 knots while approaching the mouth of TSS, knowing that an outbound vessel was near.

St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank after it collided with Sulpicio Express 7, is still in Lawis Ledge, which is about 120 meters deep. Some of the missing passengers are believed to be still inside it.


The BMI, in its recommendation, stated that navigational buoys can prevent similar incidents.

Tan said the recommendation was for the CPA to install at least 42 buoys, but they only appropriated P52 million for 10 buoys in the meantime due to limited budget, but pledged that more buoys will be installed in the coming years.

Tan said that of the 10 buoys, three will be installed in the north side of the TSS and another three in the south side. All the six will be colored red, yellow and green. The red buoy will be in the right side while the green one is in the left side.

“All voyagers or navigators or seamen know that if they are going to port, they should be at the right side where the red buoy is located. If they are outbound, they must be at the left side where the green buoy is installed. There will be no short cuts,” Tan said.

The other four navigational buoys will be installed by CPA at areas where several vessels ran aground in the past years.

“These will serve as shallow markers and warnings to passing or approaching ships to avoid these areas because these are shallow and they may run aground,” Tan said.

All the navigation buoys that CPA will acquire will be guided by Global Positioning System (GPS), Tan said.

Aside from the navigational buoys, Tan said the CPA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Coast Guard for the installation of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), which will monitor the movements of all vessels.


The VTMS project, which is targeted to be operational by 2016, is a grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

Earlier, Commander Rodolfo Villajuan, chief of the Cebu Coast Guard Station, told 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza that the VTMS will compliment with the CPA’s lighted navigational buoys.

“The VTMS will be jointly managed by CPA and Coast Guard to monitor the movements of vessels within two to five nautical miles,” Villajuan said.

Chester Cokaliong, the past president of the Visayan Association of Ferryboat and
Coastwise Service Operators (Vafcso) and chief executive officer of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, endorsed VTMS.

Cokaliong said the VTMS could use radar, closed-circuit television (CCTV), VHF radiotelephony or automatic identification system to keep track of vessel movement and provide navigational safety at Mactan Channel.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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