SURIGAO CITY – To assist motorboat operators for the modernization program, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) conducted the fourth leg of the Institutional Support Mechanism Workshop on the Modernization of Passenger Ships in Surigao City on 26 to 27 November 2019.
In conjunction with the MARINA Regional Office (MRO) XIII, the workshop oriented various motorboat operators plying Surigao City routes as to how the Philippine government could assist them in upgrading their fleet, technically and financially. Per latest data recorded by MRO XIII, 942 passenger boats are registered under its jurisdiction, and most of them are wooden-hulled.
The MARINA aims to implement a gradual phase-out on wooden-hulled boats to replace them with boats whose hulls are made of durable materials such as fiberglass, steel, and aluminum among many other technologically-improved hull materials.
Currently, there are 34 routes under MRO XIII. Some boat owners and operators have employed fiberglass-hulled boats. According to Atty. Portus, there is a market potential for more boats of this kind in their areas of concern, as water transport remains in demand in Surigao. As such, various boat owners and operators participated in the workshop to raise their issues and concerns as well as to share the safety and commercial advantages of using alternative hull materials for their boats based on their experience.
This initiative, founded by the implementation of MC 2016-02, is further reinforced by “SAFER:” Safe; Advanced; Fast; Environment-friendly; and Resilient modern boats. To help the boat owners and operators in terms of financing and incentives, representatives from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) and Board of Investments (BOI) introduced systems and schemes that they could avail to fund their modernization plans. Various reputable boatbuilding and shipbuilding companies also joined the event to explore collaborative opportunities.
Likewise, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of the Philippines Inc. (SONAME), through its president Engr. Rizalito S. Lanoy, shared their expertise in ship and boat design, emphasizing the importance of appropriate calculation and the application of engineering principles and/or computer software such as MaxSurf. Also present were the Philippine Ports Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard. The MARINA has already held this workshop in Batangas, Iloilo, and Tacloban.
Meanwhile, representatives from the MARINA including Atty. Portus, Shipyards Regulation Service Director Engr. Ramon C. Hernandez and Franchising Service Director Rizal J. Victoria, also conducted a technical visit onboard Viel’s Liner 1 and 2—FRP boats owned and operated by Viel’s Shipping Lines. The features and durability of the vessels were proudly exhibited as they traversed a short distance amidst the waves of the sea.
The MARINA is optimistic that boat owners and operators will be willing to cooperate in the modernization of the transportation system of the Philippines, if correctly oriented on the dynamics of the program. The next target areas for the conduct of the Institutional Support Mechanism Workshop are Cebu, Albay, and La Union in the first half of 2020.