MANILA, PHILIPPINES – To improve and enhance boat construction standards in the country, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has recently issued its rules on the construction and certification of vessels using composite materials through the issuance of MARINA Circular No. SR-2020-03.

A composite material is a combination of two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material that is stronger, lighter, or resistant to corrosion and electricity. Among those used in boat building are fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) and polyester, among other similar materials.

The said rules supplement the MARINA Circular (MC) No. 2015-07, which contains the rules and regulations on the construction, alteration, conversion and modification of vessels. It covers all vessels using composite materials, either imported or locally constructed, including fishing vessels.

Aside from this, it will also complement with the first five (5) programs of the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) particularly in the Upgrading of Domestic Shipping in Support of the Nautical Highway Development; the Development of Shipping Services for Maritime Tourism; the Development of Coastal and Inland Waterways Transport (CIWT) System; the Strengthening of Safety Standards of Philippine-Registered Fishing Vessels; and, the Development of a Global Maritime Hub.

With these rules, the MARINA aims to encourage the development of the boatbuilding industry; strengthen and support the expansion and modernization of the Philippine domestic merchant fleet and its strict adherence to safety standards, which will ensure the seaworthiness of all sea-borne structures; and, to ensure that all Philippine registered vessels constructed in the Philippines using composite materials are in accordance with the safety and environmental standards imposed by the Administration.

Moreover, this supports the implementation of the phase-in, phase-out of wooden-hulled passenger ships under MC 2016-02, which sets revised rules on the phase-out of wooden-hulled ships carrying passengers in domestic shipping.

The rules likewise introduced new provisions such as hull form requirement for commercial passenger boats using multi-hull vessels; operational limitation of the vessel, which shall be determined based on the sea condition of the route using available naval architecture/ marine software approved by the Administration; compliance with applicable national standards; regulation for Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) vessels up to 24 meters in length and above.

Meanwhile, safety obligations & responsibilities of stakeholders are also introduced recognizing that “safety of ships in the domestic shipping” is a shared responsibility between the concerned government agencies and all stakeholders in the maritime industry such as: the shipowners and operators for maintaining and operating the ships; Naval Architects for designing and drafting the ship plans and specifications; shipbuilders or boatbuilders for manufacturing or modifying the ships; recognized organizations for reviewing and surveying the ships; and, concerned government agencies for approving statutory certificates, and monitoring and enforcing laws, rules and regulations.

The MARINA assures the public and its stakeholders that it will continue to formulate and craft policies for the implementation of the shipbuilding and ship repair sector’s plans, programs and projects, standards, criteria, policies, and rules that will ensure the betterment of the local shipbuilding industry, as well as its other developmental activities in the whole maritime industry.

The above-mentioned MARINA Circular No. SR-2020-03 can be accessed through this link.