Senate adopts 7 treaties to boost PH maritime safety and security

Sen. Loren Legarda. (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Senate adopted on Monday seven maritime treaties to boost the country’s maritime industry’s safety and security.

With 19-0 votes, the Senate adopted Senate Resolution (SR) Nos. 648, 649, 650, 651, 652, 653, and 654, all sponsored by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The resolutions refer to the Philippines’ accession to the following treaties:

The Load Lines Convention aims to prevent the ship’s overloading by prescribing the minimum reserve buoyancy and freeboard of ships.

It prescribes visible special markings amid ships on each side of the ship in order to determine their loading limits under different types of water conditions.

“As a nation with a long history of sea tragedies, the Philippines has recognized the important role of the Load Lines Convention as a major pillar of maritime safety by preventing the overloading of ships through the presence of visible load line marks,” Legarda said in a statement.

“The Philippines’ accession to Load Lines Convention will demonstrate our country’s commitment in ensuring the safety of ships and preventing accidents that could lead to massive loss of life and serious damage to the marine environment through oil spills,” she added.

Legarda said that the Protocol 1978 SOLAS Convention aims to update the safety standards of crude carriers and product carriers by requiring the specifications of radars and steering gear to enhance safety of navigation.

The treaty was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug. 10, 2017.

The Protocol 1988 SOLAS Convention, on the other hand, specifies the standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships compatible with their safety.

It was ratified by Duterte on July 17, 2017.

The AFS Convention, meanwhile, aims to prevent the contamination of marine species.

It prohibits the use of harmful “organotins” or chemical compounds based on tin and carbon, considered toxic and have long-term adverse effect in the environment.

It was signed by Durterte on May 16, 2017.

“Scientific studies and investigations by the governments and competent international organizations have shown that certain AFS used on ships pose a substantial risk of toxicity and other chronic impacts to ecologically and economically important maritime organisms, and that human health may be harmed as a result of the consumption of affected seafood,” Legarda said. /atm