Efforts of the Maritime Industry Authority to promote safety in domestic shipping drew praises from maritime stakeholders after it released an order fortifying safety and upholding shared responsibility as a vital element in ensuring maritime safety in domestic shipping.
Administrator Robert Empedrad recently amended Marina Circular No. SR-2020-03, known as Rules on the Construction and Certification of Vessels using Composite Materials, to reiterate the significance of shared responsibilities among concerned government agencies and all stakeholders in the maritime industry.
The circular outlined the ship owners and operators responsibilities to maintain and operate the ships, similar to naval architects who are responsible for the design and drafting of the ship plans and specifications.
Shipbuilders or boat builders are reminded that they are responsible in the construction and modifying of vessels and the recognized organizations or local classification societies are tasked to review and survey the ships.
Concered government agencies approve and issue statutory certificates as well as monitor and enforce laws, rules, and regulations.
A classification society is a significant entity in ensuring safety in the shipping industry because classing of vessels is a quasi-public function involving the promotion of safety of life at sea, property, and the marine environment.
Lawyer Manuel Tiuseco, president of Orient Class, reacted to Empedrad’s apparent concern on the maritime industry, saying that one of the notable amendments was the recent implementation of stricter accreditation and monitoring of classification societies for safe operations of all Philippine registered ships.
He noted the circular revised the rules on the accreditation of local classification societies and entities for the purpose of classification of ships in the domestic trade.
One of them is to put a stop on the “table” survey, which Tiuseco referred to a survey without the actual inspection of the vessel. It is considered as a falsification of commercial and or public document, which could lead to disastrous implications, particularly on the safety of passengers and crew of the vessel.
“Actual survey of the vessel is the most vital functions of LCSs, because based on our service experience for the past 20 years, most of the domestic ships were old and lack proper maintenance and so, it is very important that an actual conduct of inspection is performed in order to determine and establish the actual condition of the vessel,” he said.