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Gov’t urged to craft policy vs turning off tracker of foreign vessels on PH waters

/ 04:41 PM July 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should come up with a policy that foreign vessels passing through the country’s territorial sea should not turn off its tracking responders, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Wednesday.

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that Chinese vessels entering Philippine territory turned off their Automatic Identification System (AIS). He has raised the issue to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhu.

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“I think it’s very stealthy if you do that [turn off AIS] so I agree with Sec. Lorenzana. I think that should be the rule worldwide that you should not turn off your AIS if you are passing through territorial sea because you are actually exercising the right of innocent passage,” Carpio explained adding that if a vessel turns it off, “you are hiding something.”

Foreign vessels are allowed to pass through another country’s territorial waters under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), such act is called the right of innocent passage.

Passage is innocent so long as it will not affect the peace and order of the coastal State and passage should be continuous, without any stop except in force majeure or unforeseeable situations.

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“We can declare a policy, announce it to the world that yes, we allow innocent passage under UNCLOS because we are obliged to do that but don’t turn off your AIS because you should be open about it,” Carpio explained. /je

RELATED STORY:

Lorenzana tells China envoy: Ships should keep AIS trackers on

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, China, Delfin Lorenzana, Right of Innocent Passage, Unclos, West Philippine Sea
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