Home » Maritime » 30-year-old ships facing retirement

THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is phasing out all vessels 30 years old and up to push the government’s refleeting program and to ensure safety in the local trade.

Marina is giving operators of such vessels a five-year transition period, possibly starting this year, after which the vessels will be decommissioned.

In a press briefing, Marina administrator Vicente Suazo, Jr said the vessel upgrade program would provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the shipbuilding industry, in the doldrums for the past two decades.

Shipowners will also be offered incentives to upgrade their ships, he said.

Under Republic Act 9295 or the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, Marina is required to prepare and implement a mandatory vessel-retirement program for all unclassed vessels that fail to meet the classification standards of a government-recognized classification society.

All vessels which have attained the maximum vessel age as stipulated by Marina’s mandatory vessel-retirement program which do not carry a class certificate issued by a government-recognized classification society shall not be allowed to operate in the domestic trade and automatically delisted from the Philippine registry.

So far, eight local tankers carrying black oil are already double-hulled.

Starting 2010, Marina will also phase out all other single-hull vessels in the local trade.

Marina imposed the requirement as part of the Philippines’ commitment to the International Maritime Organization International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution (Marpol 73/78) and to prevent further oil spills.

The Marpol convention mandates the phaseout of single-hull fuel tankers by 2008 and of refined petroleum tankers by 2010.

Late last month, Marina issued a Flag State Administration Advisory informing all oil companies worldwide that effective end-April 2008, no single-hull crude carriers shall be allowed to enter Philippine waters to deliver oil to their depots.

The advisory was issued to avoid replication of a massive oil spill caused by a 270,000-deadweight single-hulled tanker in Korea last December.

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