GUANGZHOU, CHINA — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) stressed that the safety of domestic passenger ferries is a ‘shared responsibility’ among public and private sectors that are involved in the formulation, implementation, and enforcement of rules and regulations on maritime safety.

At the 2nd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on Ferry Safety held in Guangzhou, China on 26-28 November 2018, the MARINA, in collaboration with the Guandong Maritime Safety Administration (MSA), emphasized the importance of proactive participation of member countries, ship operators, shipboard personnel, and classification societies in instilling understanding and encouraging actions to promote safety on domestic passenger ferries.

Dir. Jose Venancio Vero of the MARINA – Maritime Safety Service (MARINA – MSS) represented the Philippine maritime industry delegation in welcoming the participants of this year’s ARF workshop. He encouraged them to share their notable experiences, best practices, solutions, and lessons learned to achieve the goal of enhancing the safety of domestic ferries.

“Safety of life at sea is a moral obligation. However, maritime casualties and incidents involving domestic ferries continue to occur notwithstanding the initiatives of governments to improve the safety of domestic ferry operations. I am confident that this workshop will produce stronger coordination and unified effort toward the enhancement of capacity building measures on enforcing applicable rules, promoting use of fit-for-purpose vessels, encouraging safety culture and strengthening cooperation on ferry safety within the ARF framework,” Director Vero said.

In the ARF workshop, Engr. Bernardo Pollo of the MARINA – MSS shared the mechanisms to implement and enforce ferry safety rules and regulations for the enhancement of design and construction of ferries, ferry appliances and equipment, as well as human element as source of risk to safe and effective shipping. The said mechanisms encompass audit-based inspection system, domestic ship safety standards’ development in Philippines and regional cooperation, and other related new technologies.

Moreover, the head of the Philippine delegation, Engr. Marc Anthony Pascua of the MARINA Region VII, discussed the policies towards enhancement of ferry safety in the country.

The MARINA also tackled its initiatives and best practices on the enhancement of domestic passenger ferry operations such as capacity building measures on enforcing applicable rules, promoting use of fit-for-purpose vessels, encouraging safety culture and strengthening cooperation on ferry safety within the ARF framework.

For his part, Guangdong MSA Director General Chen Biwu expressed how ARF has become a major platform for multilateral security dialogues and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

“ARF is a highly influential platform. Closely related to the people’s livelihood and property security, the issue of maritime security under this framework has attracted great attention. I am confident that, through the joint efforts of all the delegates, this workshop will lead to great ideas on policy communication, connectivity in infrastructure, trade, finance and the people in this region” Director General Chen Biwu said.

Finally, the Philippine delegation expressed its appreciation to its fellow ARF organizers, recognizing how the platform generates initiatives and best practices from the ASEAN member states and ARF member countries for the promotion of safe domestic ferry operations.

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