CABANGAN, ZAMBALES – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) nabbed the master and crew of the vessel DAYANG CENTURY (ex – PAROS SEAS) carrying 53,000 metric tons (MT) of toxic substance from Gwangyang Port, South Korea on 22nd November 2019.
Based on the report provided by the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC), the joint PCG-NBI team proceeded to the area to intercept the Liberian-flagged merchant ship from South Korea carrying the toxic substance recognized as phospho gypsum.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) noted phospho gypsum as ‘radioactive’ due to the presence of naturally occurring radioactive elements.
Crane operators and several crew were already unloading the toxic substance when the joint PCG-NBI team arrived at Cabangan Wharf, Cabangan, Zambales. The crew said that the cargo was intended to be hauled in San Mateo, Rizal.
The team immediately boarded the ship and requested the master to present the cargo permits for such operation, but he failed to do so.
Hence, the master and crew were informed to cease the unloading operation because of their violations under Republic Act (RA) 6969 or Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 and RA 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The NBI further informed them of their rights under the Miranda Doctrine.
Afterwards, the ship master contacted the agent and shipowner to informed them regarding the situation.
Before leaving the area, the PCG conducted an inventory of the ship equipment and other vehicles involved in the unloading operation.
Finally, the ship master, its crew, as well as the crane operators were arrested and were brought at the NBI Headquarters in Manila for proper custody and further investigation.
Before the actual operation, the PCG was tipped off and found out that two other merchant vessels from different international shipping companies carrying the same toxic cargo arrived in Subic Port between August – September 2018 for two incidents of attempted importation, but were denied and ordered to return to its originating ports in South Korea.
Mandated to perform maritime law enforcement, as well as to uphold maritime safety and marine environmental protection, the PCG implements and enforces regulations to ensure secure maritime jurisdiction, save lives, and promote cleaner seas in the Philippines.