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Wednesday, September 27, 2017 33° Partly sunny

Marina steps up safety measures to protect local passenger ferries

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In conjunction with the observance of Holy Week,  Maritime Industry Authority (Marina)  Administrator Marcial Q. C. Amaro III)  has directed  Marina central and  regional offices to spruce up efforts to enforce maritime regulations to protect lives of passengers  of interisland vessels plying various routes in the country.  Largest volumes of outbound and inbound passengers are expected to travel  this Holy Wednesday onwards.

The Marina Enforcement Service (ES) headed by Atty. Vera Joy Ban-eg, concurrent chief of staff, together with Amaro’s head executive assistant Raymundo Cruz Jr.  lead coordinating teams from the central office.  Dr. Amaro were slated to conduct ocular inspection of ships, ports, and harbor facilities during the Holy Week.

Amaro said Marina’s “Oplan : Ligtas Biyaheng Dagat” during the observance, must be strictly implemented in accordance with  the marching order of Transportation Secretary  Arthur P. Tugade.  “Our mission is to ensure passenger safety and security, above all!,” he said.

Secretary Tugade  earlier instructed  Transportation Undersecretary for Maritime Affairs Felipe A. Judan  to task all Department of Transportation  (DOTr)-maritime attached  agencies to exercise in full,  their authority to maintain safety of passengers and cargo.  Aside from  Marina, Tugade’s directive for safety  is likewise addressed   to the Philippine Coast Guard,  its auxiliary group, Philippine Ports Authority, owners and operators  of domestic ferries, including smaller  ones.

Upon Tugade’s instruction,  Amaro  sought  the cooperation  of  local government units (LGUs), the Red Cross,  civic organizations  and communications  groups, as well as  concerned citizens,  to help achieve achieve a  safe and  fruitful observance of Holy Week 2017.

In conducting inspection, Marinateams will check if ship officers and crew are legally documented, and proper maritime safety regulations are observed. Passengers and others concerned are prohibited to carry and bring on board ship unlicensed firearms  of any caliber, deadly weapons or sharp  objects, illegal drugs, explosives, contrabands or any merchandise not allowed by law to be transported through ships, or any other thing that partakes the nature of being’ smuggled.

Marina maintains that the Oplan must be strictly observed daily, and not just only during holiday celebrations  and observances like  Holy Week, Christmas, New Year,  All Saints’ and Souls’ Days, or other holidays,  because what is paramount in navigation is “safety of life.”

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