Gatchalian wants to level up PH maritime safety standards
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on Wednesday for the enhancement of maritime safety measures to avoid further sea mishaps, as severe tropical storm Tisoy also continues to affect parts of Luzon.Gatchalian said he wants a review of the country’s compliance with the maritime safety standards and maritime transportation laws set by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to ensure the security and safety of daily sea travelers.
“Hindi na natin kailangan pa na hintayin na mayroon na namang barkong lumubog sa kasagsagan ng bagyo para i-review kung nakaka-comply ba tayo sa maritime safety standards na sinet ng Marina,” he said in a statement.
(We should not wait for another vessel to sink in the middle of a storm to review if we are complying with the maritime safety standards set by Marina.)
“It is crucial that the Philippines maintains a high standard in ensuring the safety of passengers travelling by water as well as adequate protocols to implement the same,” he also said.
Gatchalian recently filed Senate Resolution No. 220 seeking a Senate inquiry to enact amendments to existing legislations that will enhance protocols on the safety and quality of passenger transport services.
The resolution also aims to lead an effective supervision and regulation of all water transport in the country and ensure proper mobilization of resources for necessary maritime transportation infrastructure.
Citing data from the Philippine Ports Authority, Gatchalian said passenger traffic in ports across the country grew by 5.68 percent from 72,438,609 passengers in 2017 to 76,798,175 passengers in 2018.
He cited the country’s archipelagic composition as the main reason behind Filipino’s patronage of maritime vessels, such as roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels, ferries, fast crafts, and motorized banks.
There have been 922 incidents of engine trouble, 496 of capsizing, and 427 of grounding from 2011 to 2016, according to the senator, citing a report from Marina. Other incidents also include collisions of vessels, sinking, ramming, and fire.
In August 2019 alone, 31 people died when three boats capsized in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait.
According to Gatchalian, the growing number of maritime incidents indicates the inadequacy of safety standards set by Marina or lapses in its implementation.
“These policy and implementation drawbacks support the need to review Marina’s capability and capacity to enforce maritime safety standards laws to ensure that we can accord the protection needed by our people and that we put up the necessary improvements in transport infrastructure that will support the provision of safe and secured shipping services,” he said.
Edited by JPV
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