Manila, Philippines— The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) clarified that the mercy ship bound for Cebu, MV Fastcat M16 deployed by Archipelago Shipping Corp applied for Special Permit on the evening of Dec 21 and was immediately issued said permit on December 22, upon satisfying all ship safety requirements.

This is contrary to the claim of a local official in the Visayas who alleged that the Agency has withheld the application of a Special Permit filed in its Regional Office in Batangas, as reported by various media outlets yesterday.

The MARINA, in compliance with the directive of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and upon the guidance of Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, has been consistent in ensuring that ships are made available for the carriage of relief goods and equipment intended for those hardest-hit by Super Typhoon Odette, and for the transport of individuals and first responders to the various affected islands of the archipelago.

MV Fastcat M16 was at the Navotas shipyard at the time of application. As such, safety inspection was immediately conducted and appropriate ship safety certificate including required special permit to load cargoes bound for Cebu City and elsewhere in the country were issued by MARINA in less than 24 hours.

With this incident, the MARINA will reach-out and appeal and will explain our common efforts and undertaking to make shipping services available soonest possible, so as not to aggravate the suffering of the victims of the Typhoon.

The MARINA remains steadfast in its resolve to act swiftly on applications for special permits for mercy missions in the Visayas and in Northern Mindanao while ensuring that ships granted such Special Permits possess the required seaworthiness to sail.