Watch towers, radars in Cebu for vessels plying Mactan Channel

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag August 15,2016 - 11:55 PM

TRAVELING via the Mactan Channel will be a lot safer as the Philippine Coast Guard completes installation of its three radars and control towers next year.

“All the vessels coming in and out of the (Mactan) Channel will be automatically identified by our Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS),” Coast Guard Commandant Rear Admiral William Melad told Cebu Daily News.

He said vessels that won’t follow their usual route and traffic scheme will be monitored by cameras installed within the radars and towers.

The three radar towers will be set up in Bantolinao Point (north), the middle radar will be in between the old and new Mactan-Mandaue bridges and the third radar will be along Talisay City.

“Exchange of communications will be improved. It will be faster,” Melad told CDN.
The VTMS is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which spent Y1.152 billion for the project.

The VTMS in Mactan Channel is the third in the country after those in Corregidor Island and Verde Island.

Melad said the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) placed 10 buoys along Mactan Channel.

Melad said the markers are placed at the critical areas of Mactan Channel especially at the entrance portion to guide the vessels on where to enter.

Completion of the VTMS will come nearly three years after the MV St. Thomas Aquinas sank at Lauis Ledge in Talisay City.

The vessel’s remains have yet to be recovered, though Melad said they conduct regular assessment on the site.

So far the vessel which had sunk to the depths of Lauis Ledge doesn’t impose any navigational threats in the area, Melad said.

He said they are concerned that the debris from the ship may suddenly float along Lauis Ledge.

“So far the ship is in stable condition,” Melad said.

The MV St. Thomas Aquinas of 2Go Shipping Lines collided with Sulpicio Express Siete of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp (PSACC) on Aug. 16 2013.

The Coast Guard called on 2Go management to recover the ill-fated ship but the company insisted that it will only hamper navigation at the south of Mactan Channel.

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TAGS: Corregidor Island, Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, Mactan channel, PCG, Philippine Coast Guard, Vessel Traffic Management System, VTMS, William Melad

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