Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » International lines seek stop to PPA order on SRF

INTERNATIONAL shipping lines are seeking a stop to the implementation of Philippine Port Authority’s (PPA) Administrative Order (AO) 02-2003, also known as the “Implementing Guidelines on MARPOL [Maritime Pollution] 73/78 Requirement for Shore Reception Facilities (SRF)”.

The order calls for the installation in all PPA ports of SRF to provide waste collection and disposal services to ships’ generated waste, and the collection of corresponding fees to cover the service. The South and North Harbors, the Manila International Container Terminal and the Batangas Port host SRF. A similar facility in Bataan will also be installed before the yearend.

Members of the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), in a recent letter to PPA general manager Alfonso Cusi, said the AO should not be implemented until all concerns are fully resolved, one of the most pressing being the compulsory payment of fees to SRF operator, Golden Dragon International Terminals, Inc.

Carriers labeled as illegal and baseless the operator’s charging of a fixed fee even if there was no waste collected and no collection and disposal service provided.

“It is evident that the fees being imposed are intended to cover services for the collection and disposal of waste and the rates are directly related to the contents of waste measured by cubic meter and type of waste collected. This being the case, if no garbage or noxious liquid substance as defined by law is collected, a member shipping line should not be charged the corresponding service fees fixed by law. If the reason for the imposition of the fee is absent, the charging is necessarily baselessÉ if there is no service rendered, no service fee should be charged,” AISL said.

The association added that a vessel which could present a certification of disposal from any port of call – foreign or domestic – should be exempt from payment of the fee.”The compulsory nature of the payment of fee notwithstanding prior disposal of waste from the last port of call as supported by appropriate certificate (whether foreign or domestic port) subjects the vessel to double or multiple paymentsÉ,” it said.

A PPA official who requested anonymity justified the payment even if no service was rendered. “It is not a question of whether the service was rendered or not. The point is if a vessel, say, from Australia docks at the port of Manila without any waste, what comes to mind is that it disposed of its garbage and waste in the sea,” he said.

Meanwhile, AISL in an earlier letter to the PPA, also asked why, under the AO, international shipping lines are charged more their domestic counterparts.

“PPA AO 2-2003 violates the principle of equal protection of laws as it imposes a fee upon foreign vessels which are unreasonably higher than domestic vessels. For example, the basic fee for a domestic vessel with a gross registered tonnage of 1000 and below is only P150 per call while the basic for foreign vessel with the same GRT is P1,700 which is 1033% higher…,” carriers noted in a letter sent in August. “Likewise, the fee for domestic vessel with GRT 1001 and above is only P500 per call while the fee for a foreign vessel for the same GRT is P5000 per call, a marked increase of 900%. “There is no substantial distinction between domestic and foreign vessels in terms of preventing them from causing pollution to the marine environment,” neither is there distinction in terms of the classsification of waste to be discharged, the lines explained.

To this, the PPA official said the port authority follows an established tariff for foreign collectibles and does not rely solely on vessel tonnage. International carriers are also against the absolute discretion given to the Philippine Coast Guard in terms of inspection as it prevents lines from checking or questioning the government agency’s findings. “ThisÉ may be exercised with impunity,” they said. International Maritime Organization (IMO) coordinator for East Asian Region Brenda Pimentel said the settlement of the issue relies on the government regulatory body.

“While IMO may be the facilitator of this environmental protection move, it is still up to the government to amend rules governing its implementation,” she noted.

AISL said it will elevate the matter to the Department of Transportation and Communications or to the proper court if PPA fails to act on its request.

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