You are here

Local maritime safety standards hailed

Local maritime safety standards hailed

THE safety standards and other reforms being instituted by Philippine maritime authorities are being recognized as among the best, bolstering the country’s status as a major maritime nation and a shipbuilding leader in Asia.

This is according to Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp. (APFC) CEO Christopher Pastrana, who attributed the recognition to the efforts of the Maritime Industry Authrotity (Marina).

The agency, Pastrana said, did a good job in raising the safety standards governing local ships, which resulted from the sinking of MV Doña Paz in 1987 and MV Princess of the Stars in 2008.

A combined 5,000 passengers lost their lives in those mishaps.

Pastrana said that, in the local and overseas conferences he attended, the Doña Paz and Princess of the Stars tragedies always came up, “but what’s good in the last conference we had in Croatia and China, they recognized the effort of the Philippines, in collaboration with the private sector, to address that issue.”

“European ship owners have already recognized that some of the standards imposed on the domestic [shipping industry]are even much higher than [their own]when it comes to safety,” he added.

As an example, the APFC chief cited Marina’s move to phase out wooden-hulled ships used in ferrying passengers, and the issue of training and qualification of Filipino seafarers.

“That’s already in place. They already have an advisory on the retirement of vessels. They also issued…circulars pertaining to training and qualification,” Pastrana said.

He encouraged local shipping industry groups to work closely with Marina and its program to develop a road map for the sector.

Pastrana pointed out that many Asian countries have maritime plans for the next few decades, and is proposing that the country’s road map should be good for at least 10 years and can be extended.

“If we can do this” with the support of our legislators, “we can come up with a maritime bill” that will promote the industry’s modernization, as well as its sustainable programs, and make the sector on a par with that of our neighbors, he said.

“So hopefully, before the end of 2019, or the end of the President’s term in 2022, we will have this maritime development plan in place [and]supported by law,” he added.