Execs probe foreign dredging ships in Zambales protected area
MASINLOC, ZAMBALES—At least 12 foreign dredging and quarrying vessels are anchored within a marine protected area here, prompting local officials to call for an investigation of possible illegal activities of the ships that threaten the environment.
Mayor Arsenia Lim on Friday said the town council had passed a resolution asking Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to look into the possible violations of the vessels, some of which arrived here in January last year.
Lim said she had alerted the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) about the ships’ prolonged stay along the 7,000-hectare Masinloc-Oyon Bay protected landscape and seascape.
Based on PCG records, eight of the vessels arrived here between February and December last year while three dredging ships docked at a local pier last month. The other vessel remained moored since September 2018.
In September last year, seven Chinese workers were arrested after they were allegedly involved in illegal dredging operations. Police said the Chinese had no visa and working permits.
PPA officials had told Lim that the dredging vessels had permits to berth at a local pier while waiting for other documents. PCG personnel said these were dredging ships.—JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT
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