Shipping operators decry Marina stance on fleets
SHIPPING companies in Cebu yesterday called on the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in Central Visayas to give due process to them before suspending their fleets following accidents at sea.
In yesterday’s 888 News Forum, Chester Cokaliong, president of the Visayan Association of Ferry Boat and Coastwise Shipowners Operators (VAFCSO), said the suspension of the fleet of any shipping firm affects the shipping industry in the province.
“They will suspend the vessels immediately without undergoing due process,” Cokaliong said.
He said such drastic action can paralyze the shipping industry in Cebu, where much of its economic activity relies on maritime trade and transport.
This year Marina suspended the fleets of Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc., Island Shipping Inc., and Weesam Express Inc. after some of their vessels experienced engine trouble at sea. All stranded passengers were eventually rescued afterwards.
Cokaliong earlier complained that Marina violated Sections 10 and 18 of Republic Act 9295 or the “Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004,” which prescribes that suspension of a shipping company would only be implemented “upon notice and hearing.”
In the case of the three companies, he said they were penalized before the hearing took place.
Marina required the shipping management to submit passengers and cargo manifests, pertinent ship documents and the measures undertaken by the management in assisting the passengers.
Cokaliong also said most of the suspension orders were already issued by the Marina without verifying the inspection to assess if the sea vessels were really seaworthy or not.
“Upon the inspection after the audit, if there’s violation, that’s the time that they would issue the order,” Cokaliong said. Reporter Candeze R. Mongaya
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