The Establishment of Surigao-Dinagat Search and Rescue Fleet and Its Expansion

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The past and recent sea and disasters in the ACR of Coast Guard Station Surigao, particularly Dinagat-Surigao and approaches, and the less visibility of search and rescue units or at times the  delayed search and rescue operations by concerned agencies not to mention its limited assets and capability, prompted the need for an organization with local SEARCH AND RESCUE capability in the area. The idea was to have a search and rescue organization capable of rescue operations that would react first pending the arrival of assets from the government. Such idea was conceptualized between the coastguard in Surigao and the Surigao-Dinagat passenger motorbanca association  where its members are boat owners and operators in the area. With series of talks conducted for the idea, and finalization, the Surigao-Dinagat searchand rescue fleet was established through MOA between the  organizers and the PCG which was held on 11 December 2008. The signatories were ADMIRAL Wilfredo D Tamayo PCG, Commandant PCG and ENGR ROLDAN E LISONDRA representing Surigao Del Norte Motorized Banca Operators Association, Inc. with eighty four (84) motor banca members.

Then in 2008, Surigao-Dinagat SAR fleet with more or less 100 members is composed of the motorbanca association plying the area and approaches including Siargao islands. This SAR fleet was conceived and organized by CGS Surigao in October 2008 in anticipation of the typhoon season that generally comes in the last and first quarter of the year, Its major purpose is to organize a group of motorboats volunteers-operators to be trained and ultimately be tapped during SAR operations

Geographical Information. CGS Surigao Area of Responsibility covers the Provinces of Surigao Del Norte and Dinagat Islands. The mode of transportation from Dinagat Islands to the mainland and island towns of Surigao  are all by sear with only one RORO vessel servicing the route of Siargao Island to Surigao City and back. The area has a daily maritime traffic density: 84 motorbancas (cargo-passenger), 150 small fishing boats, 1 yacht vessel, seven (7) medium sized passenger/cargo vessels, and one (1) large passenger/cargo ship.

Situated in the same AOR is the most prominent tourist attraction of Surigao, the Siargao Island, well-known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines aside from its being blest with the paradise-like sandy beaches and crystal clear seas where thousands of local and foreign tourists frequent the area all year long

Rising population and increasing economic activities in the area have increased maritime traffic in the last two decades.

Concept

The concept is to organize and train the motor boat operators and to have sustained logistical and operational support which are voluntarily given or produced by the members. The coastguards in northern Mindanao will spearhead the training. PCG will train volunteer motor boat operators regarding the standards of safety of life and property at sea and, ultimately for these trained- operators to act as future advisers of the organization. In return, the passenger motor bancas association of Surigao and Dinagat with more than 100 members will help the PCG in the conduct of SAR operations during maritime incidents. The logistics like fuel will be shouldered by association’s funds which they emphasized will be taken from the contribution each give whenever they are on business operation.

MOA Signing 

Memorandum of Agreement was held at Coast Guard District Northern Mindanao on 11 December 2008  with ADM WILFREDO D TAMAYO PCG, Commandant Philippine Coast Guard representing the PCG Surigao Del Norte  Motorized Banca Operators Association, Inc. with more or less 100 motor banca members .

Now in 2009. Present Situation/Expanded SAR Fleet. From the time the Surigao Dinagat Fleet was organized, it has expanded to include medium size RORO vessels. All the Five (5) RORO vessels in Lipata Port, Surigao del Norte in Mutual Understanding that if a ship member encountered trouble our unusual incident, other members will render the SAR Operations with only fuel cost refunded by the rescued vessel.

Benefit of the PCG/Public. With the organization of the boat and ship owners in Surigao, the capability of the PCG in SAR Operations is enhanced and its capability to perform the mandate of promoting safety of life and property at sea is improved. Such united efforts made us all truly and indispensible partner in the area.

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