By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has formally inaugurated its P382 million newly central office building in time for the agency’s 45th founding anniversary.
The 12-story government building with a total floor area of 12,000 square meters is located at Bonifacio Drive corner 20th Street, Port Area, Manila. Its ship-inspired architecture is symbolic to the agency’s full steam sail towards its mission of providing leadership in transforming the Philippines into a major maritime nation.
The Marina was first housed at the Philippine President Lines building in United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila for 35 years. In 2007, the Marina transferred to YIC building, then to Parkview Plaza building along Taft Avenue in 2008, and eventually, to its present site in 2019.
So far, the agency has reduced the recorded average death toll of the local maritime industry from 207 fatalities annually from 1966 to 2015 to 13 fatalities from 2016 to 2018, according to Marina OIC Vice Admiral Narciso A. Vingson Jr.
It has also hastened the processing time of seafarer documents from five days to just 30 minutes and shortened the application time for the seaman’s book from eight hours to just 15 minutes.
The Marina OIC assured maritime stakeholders of greater growth in the country’s maritime industry with the intensified implementation of the 10-year maritime industry development plan (MIDP).
The MIDP aims to upgrade the domestic shipping in support of the nautical highway development, promote maritime tourism, establish the country’s coastal inland waterways transport system, enhance the safety in Philippine-registered fishing vessels and establish the Philippines’ first-ever global maritime hub, among other things.
Marina is also reinforcing its modernization campaign through a vessel retirement program and in the Philippines’ reelection to the IMO Council in the 31st General Assembly in November this year.