Monday, September 03, 2012

Coast watch stations improves PN capability

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 1 -- The Coast Watch Stations (CWS) set up across southern and central Mindanao has greatly improved the Navy’s capability in maritime security and safety.

Captain Robert Empedrad Deputy Commander of the Philippine Navy Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao said the past year have seen the Navy interdict suspicious vessels and seacraft aside from rescuing three to four vessels with the help of the CWS.

Empedrad said coast watch stations helps the navy preserve its assets from wear and tear. He said that navy ships usually have 20-40 nautical miles radar coverage while on sea, instead of conducting intensive sea patrols CWS with its radars can monitor suspicious seaborne movements and relay these findings to the coast watch center at the Felix Apolinario Naval Station in Panacan, Davao City which will in turn feed the data to the nearest navy vessels that will in turn interdict the targets.

Lieutenant Commander Julien Dolor, Coast Watch Area Director Eastern Mindanao said coast watch stations are equipped with radars along with Automated Identification System (AIS) to identify vessels and modern communication equipment.

Dolor said that CWS radars can cover 80 nautical miles of coast. The Eastern Mindanao Coast Watch center has six CWS one in Calamansig Sultan Kudarat, three CWS in Sarangani Province (Maitum, Maasim and Glan), one in Balut Island, Davao del Sur and a CWS in Cape San Agustin Davao Oriental. The Regional Command Center is in the Naval Station in Panacan.

“These CWS were established in traditional and busy marine routes.” There are two Coast Watch Centers, Central Mindanao and Eastern Mindanao, Dolor said, he added that each Coast Watch Station costs around P100-million each.

Empedrad said the CWS are part of the initiatives in improving the Navy’s capabilities. He said the CWS can be further upgraded particularly it can be linked to the country’s Air Defense system to detect airborne intrusions.

He added that President Benigno Aquino III is very interested in the modernization of the armed forces particularly the navy. This year the country is expecting its second Weather High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) from the United States. It is also eyeing to buy two Italian frigates to beef up its territorial defense capability.

Meanwhile, to enhance the capability of the CWS, the Philippine Navy will launch the Coast Watch System Capability Exercises in Davao City this September 3-7. It will be participated by two Philippine Navy vessels, two aircraft and four speedboats from the Coast Guard and the Maritime Police. It will also involve the participation of 31 representatives from different government agencies and local government units. 

Rudolf Ian G. Alama | Philippine Information Agency | September 1, 2012 | Article Link

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