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Pinoy seafarers' concerns taken up with US Coast Guard head

January 19, 2013 4:50pm
Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. recently raised the concerns of Filipino seafarers in a meeting with the head of the US Coast Guard.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington said Cuisia and US Coast Guard commandant Admiral Robert Papp, Jr. met to further strengthen cooperation on the matter.

"Closer relations with the US Coast Guard would facilitate assistance by the Embassy to Filipino seamen who may figure in accidents or any maritime issues," the Embassy said in a news release.

During the meeting, Cuisia told Papp the Philippines is the largest source of the world’s seafarers, with nearly 700,000. Half of these work overseas.

Cuisia also said many of these seafarers work in ships that visit ports of call and pass through the coasts of the United States.

"(Cuisia) emphasized that increased cooperation with the US Coast Guard will contribute to an enhanced relationship between the two countries," it added.

He said there are several Filipinos working as welders, fitters, scaffolders and riggers who were hired in the Philippines to work in offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the other hand, he thanked Papp for the US Coast Guard’s major role in search, rescue and recovery of victims in the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

He also voiced appreciation for the transfer by the US Government to the Philippines of two US Coast Guard cutters - the USCGC Hamilton WHEC-715 and USCGC Dallas WHEC-716.

Papp leads the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes 42,000 active duty, 8,000 civilian and 31,000 volunteer auxiliarists.

"The Coast Guard is noted for its blend of military, humanitarian and law enforcement capabilities to save lives and property at sea, protect and maintain ports and maritime transportation system, secure borders, respond to natural disasters, protect marine environment and defend the United States," the Philippine embassy said. - VVP, GMA News
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