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Web alert: Filipino province of Zambales seeks to impose passage fee on passing ships

07 September 2015

The club has been advised that the Province of Zambales in the western Philippines has sought to impose a passage fee on passing ships with effect from 20 July 2015.  By way of Ordinance No 28 Series of 2015, the new regulation apparently seeks to apply a fee to ships that may pass within 100 km or 50 nautical miles off Zambales territory.  The club understands that the collecting agents, Xanatos Phils Corp, have attempted to collect fees already from ships entering Keppel Subic Shipyard and Subic Bay Free Port Zone.  However, the agents have recognised that collecting fees from passing ships would not be straightforward.

The aim of the new regulation appears to be a means to monitor entry of foreign ships in contested territorial waters in the South China Seas.  It also apparently seeks to monitor and enforce environmental laws.

The regulation appears to be contradictory to the provisions of UNCLOS, of which the Philippines is a signatory, which recognises free passage of merchant ships within 12 nautical miles of its coastline.  Further information is being sought by local correspondents as to the basis and scope of the new regulations.

The club will continue to monitor the position and keep members closely advised.​