Coaling at Malangas
Coaling at Malangas
Dry Dock Unk Year
Unknown Year
Unknown Year
Photos of the Marinduque Crew
Ship's Officers Unk Year
April 15, 1928  Solo Sulu
1925 Shore Party with
Constabulary Guard
Exploring Sea Caves
Taking the launch to shore
Triangulation Party
Plane table in
Mangrove swamp 1928
Tripod Signal
Building Party 1924
Ken Crosby 1924
Photos of the Marinduque
Postcard 1912
History of the USCGS Marinduque and the Coast Guard of the Philippines

The Marinduque was steam powered with a length 132 feet, beam 23 feet, draft
10.2  Built in 1901 for the Philippine government at a cost of $67,673.42. In service
1905-1932 exclusively in Philippine Islands. Named for Philippine Island of

One of the least-known military organizations which the United States has ever
created operated was the Coast Guard of the Philippines. The historian's office of
the US Coast Guard knows nothing of this organization which used the designation
coast guard a dozen years before the stateside service was so identified upon the
merger of the Revenue  Cutter Service and the Lifesaving Service in 1915. Neither is
the Naval Historical aware of the Philippine Coast Guard, even though naval
personnel, including four 19th-century Naval Academy graduates, were heavily
involved in the creation of the organization, and the Navy's military discipline system
became an integral part of organization.

In spite of this obscurity, this Coast Guard organization for a number of years
operated a fleet of cutters and other vessels under the American flag in the waters
of the Philippines. These vessels were staffed by American officers with merchant
marine licenses who were members of a uniformed service that in time evolved into a
true military service. This fleet carried out its unique missions during the adventurous
period following the Spanish-American War when the United States was responsible
for the administration of the archipelago of 2441 named and 4642 unnamed islands.

Shortly thereafter, on 17 October 1901, the Philippine Commission, as the governing
body of the Philippines, enacted legislation creating the Bureau of Coast Guard and
Transportation under the general purview of the Department of Commerce and
Police, one of a dozen or so major branches of the new government. The
newly-established Bureau consisted of three sections, one of which was responsible
for the operation of vessels, another for the operation of lights and navigational aids,
and the third for the creation and construction of lights and navigational aids. In its
operation of vessels the Bureau was charged with cooperating with customs in the
collection of revenues and the prevention of smuggling, with various governmental
entities at the national and provincial level in transporting officials and supplies, with
the post office in carrying mails, and with the Constabulary in transporting police and

During 1902-03, a fleet of 17 seagoing cutters, each of 41l-gross tons, was built for
the Philippine Coast Guard, all in Shanghai except for two built in Uraga, Japan.
These ships, each of which was named for a province of the Philippines, had wooden
hulls, and were 132 feet in length, 23 feet in beam, and ten fleet in depth. They were
somewhat underpowered, with only 300-horsepower reciprocating steam engines
which propelled them at a speed of eight knots, not entirely adequate for chasing
smugglers or similar responsibilities of a revenue cutter. Several large seagoing
launches and tenders were also built for or acquired by the Bureau.

In addition to these assignments to regular routes, cutters were also assigned to
special duties or local areas. In 1904 three were assigned to the Manila
headquarters of the Coast Guard: the Mindanao, the Palawan, and Marinduque.
Other special assignments included the Romblon and Corregidor with the lighthouse
establishment; the Tablas on customs duty around the Sulu Islands and Paragua
(which was renamed Palawan in 1905), locations that were favorite haunts of
smugglers; and the Luzon, transporting a survey board whose members were
looking for a penitentiary site. Other vessels, including launches, lighthouse tenders
and cable ships, were also assigned to special duties rather than to routes; several
of the bigger seagoing launches, as large as 300 tons, were assigned to working
with the Constabulary.

The Bureau also generated considerable revenue through its 1400-ton marine railway
and machine shops which were constructed in 1905 on Engineer island at the mouth
of the Pasig River in Manila. These facilities were widely utilized by outside clients
such as the US Army and various entities of the insular and provincial governments,
and in some years could actually show an operating profit. Apparently, the 1400-ton
rating of the marine railway was unrealistic, however; the Bureau was embarrassed
in 1913 when its own ship, the Marinduque of considerably smaller tonnage, was left
stranded when the wheeled cradle fell off the track while the ship was being
undocked. After a week of hard work, the cutter was eventually refloated, and the
cradle put back onto its track.

Although the organization now had a definite military orientation, it generally did not
participate in armed actions involving the US Army or the Philippine Scouts. When the
Samar took Brigadier General John J. Pershing from Zamboanga to the island of
Jolo in 1911 for a pacification campaign against the Moros, it was in his capacity as
Governor-General of the Moro Province, rather than as a military commander. The
troops for this campaign were transported in several of the Army's oceangoing
steam launches and small transports.  However, the native Constabulary, which was
a police force that was organized and trained under predominately American officers
much like an army, often traveled on the vessels of the Coast Guard. For example,
the seagoing launch Ranger and the cutter Marinduque in 1903 carried troops of this
organization in pursuit of two renegade Constabulary officers who had turned to
piracy in the Sulu Sea.

Little is known of the fleet of cutters after 1913. The Balabac had been sold that
year to the government of British North Borneo, the Masbate had been lost much
earlier, and the Leyte had been dropped from the vessel roster for unknown reasons
- leaving 14 ships. Two of the remaining ships, the Romblon and Marinduque, are
known to have been used by the US Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey in conducting
surveys in the islands, but the dates and length of this service are unknown.

One vessel from the early Coast Guard fleet, the cable ship Rizal, survived to be
identified at the outset of World War II among the ships pressed into service by the
US Army for the defense of the Philippines, but her wartime fate is unknown. At least
six of the cutters were also still in service immediately prior to World War II, in each
case as a private merchant ship. The Marinduque, Samar, and Mindanao were under
their original names, while the Tablas had become the Capiz, the Mindoro had
become the Vittoriana, and the Busuanga had been  renamed the Zambales, The Isla
de Mindoro, which was originally the Romblon, was lost to the Japanese at Cebu in
March 1942. The fate of the others is unknown.