New fast craft to shorten travel to Calapan | Inquirer News
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New fast craft to shorten travel to Calapan

By: - Correspondent / @mvirolaINQ
/ 09:04 PM May 26, 2013

CITY OF CALAPAN—Travel time between this city and Batangas will soon be an hour shorter, on board a brand new and modern roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel.

The new vessel, called a “FastCat Ferry” operated by the Filipino-owned Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp. (APFC), will take only about an hour and a half to cross Calapan from Batangas and vice versa, down from the usual 2.5-hour travel time with existing Ro-Ro vessels plying the same sea route.

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Lower fare rates

The fare rates for FastCat Ferry would also be lower, ranging from P120 to P300, depending on the seat classification, said Christina Guevarra, APFC’s vice president for marketing.

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The current fare for Calapan to Batangas ranges from P182 to P330.

“We chose the ports of Batangas and Mindoro because they are the biggest ports when it comes to traffic volume, connecting vessels up to Visayas and Mindanao,” said Peter Gonzales, president and chief executive officer of APFC during the soft launch here of FastCat Ferry on April 29.

Fully automated

The vessel is not only fully automated but has complied with all the safety standards, from design to build and operation, set by the International Association of Classification Societies and by the International Maritime Organization,  Gonzales said.

A FastCat Ferry can accommodate almost 300 passengers, all numbered seats, in compliance with Maritime Industry Authority  regulation on passenger capacity; and can carry seven to eight buses and light trucks and about 20 cars.

FastCat Ferry will likewise be the only vessel in the Philippines that has systems for the handicapped. “We have an elevator for handicapped; [a] provision for pregnant women and old people, [and] a special area to put their wheelchairs on,”  Gonzales said.

Pastrana emphasized that the vessel, having met all requisite standards, would address  safety issues  that have been hounding the Philippine maritime industry, noting that next to Indonesia and Bangladesh, “we are rated with the worst in maritime accidents.”

“It’s about time that we in the shipping industry modernize our fleets for the benefit of the people, and to offer to the ordinary people a chance to bring their goods from one point in Mindanao all the way to their market in Luzon using the Ro-Ro systems, with facilities for reefer vans,” Gonzales added.

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