Home » Maritime » Advance booking soon a must for local shipping

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will soon enforce the advance booking and ticketing system adopted by the airline industry to promote safety and efficiency in the local shipping industry, according to PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo.

At the moment, vessel operators are allowed to sell tickets and book cargoes right before vessel departure to maximize revenues, leaving maritime law enforcers no time to check the manifest and relying solely on the Master’s Oath of Safe Departure.

Tamayo is confident the system will be easy to enforce considering the high-tech capabilities of most vessel operators.

Under the policy, there will be a cut-off on ticket sales. Cargo owners—particularly those using the roll on-roll off system—will also have to book in advance.

Tamayo said the process allows enforcers to thoroughly check the number of passengers and look at cargo stowage and lashing.

The PCG will detain any vessel non-compliant with the system, he said.

Passenger and cargo control barriers in major gateways are now being constructed. The coast guard is also completing training of its personnel to enforce the new system.

Maritime disasters in the country are commonly caused by human error, overloading and improper cargo stowage and lashing, as was the case with the sinking of Sulpicio’s Princess of the Stars in 2008, SuperFerry 9, and the twin disasters in December 2009.

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