By Rhaydz B. Barcia

Legazpi City —The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) deploys BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) and BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) in a two-day joint towing exercise in the waters off Manila Bay to enhance interoperability in time in handling emergency towing.

Commander Erwin Tolentino, commanding officer of the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) said the sailing crew needs to know how to properly conduct “emergency towing of ships” as the ship’s towing gear may part due to improper and or unsafe connection.

The two 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) and their sailing crew train in handling emergency towing gear, selecting the correct tow line, and throwing tow lines properly to get hold of the ship.

“This error may cause towing lines to fall into the propellers. We need to avoid this incident because towing equipment will malfunction if this happened,” Tolentino said. The PCG’s joint towing exercise will be done starting June 15 until tomorrow.  

On the first day of the joint towing exercise the participating Coast Guard ships displayed relevant “day shapes” or signals indicating the status of a vessel to other ships on navigational waters during daylight hours, while operations were being conducted.

The PCG observed the safety of sailing crew in compliance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea: Rules of the Road (1972) and International Safety and Management Code (ISM) Code.

Commander Patrick Babag, commanding officer of BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) said the Coast Guard shared that the joint towing exercise also assessed the individual capacity of the newly acquired PCG vessels.

“Towing exercises are part of the continuous training provided by the shipbuilder, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. to simulate high-risk operations,” Babag said.

The two-day towing exercises of the Philippine Coast Guard is being witnessed by a representatives from the Japan Coast Guard – Mobile Cooperation Team and United States Coast Guard – Mobile Training Team were also present to observe the joint towing exercise and provide points for improvement.

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