The Maritime Industry Authority-Enforcement Group (Marina-ES) has agreed to conduct random inspection of vessels while the ships are unloading cargo—not while they are set to leave—to avoid forestalling their departure.
Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association (PISA) executive director Atty. Pedro Aguilar, in a phone interview with PortCalls, said Marina ES officer-in-charge Vera Joy Ban-eg has acceded to the organization’s request to time the random examinations during cargo discharge and not before vessel departure to prevent delays as had happened to a member’s ship last month.
The vessel was delayed for 14 hours after it received a Marina “show cause” order and “no sail” order on the night of its departure.
Aguilar said conducting the checks during unloading will give shipping companies time to correct minor deficiencies since it usually takes a day or more before a vessel sails again.
PISA sent a letter dated September 22 to Marina requesting a meeting following concerns raised by members over the random ship inspections, which Marina’s enforcers began conducting in August at several ports in the country.
At a September 30 meeting, PISA told Marina-ES it was bothered by the holding of the random inspections close to the vessels’ scheduled departure, the lack of categories for deficiencies noted in the ship that would justify preventing it from sailing, and the lack of a timeline for re-inspection.
Marina-ES will now also provide a checklist of categories that inspectors can use to help them define minor violations and which entail a no sail order or a vessel detention.
Asked why Marina doesn’t have a checklist yet, Aguilar explained that the maritime authority previously only held annual vessel inspections as part of the renewal of the carrier’s safety certificates and other documents.
Unannounced ship inspections were conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which only has policing powers over maritime pollution concerns. Violations found concerning security and related matters are forwarded to Marina for proper action.
Aguilar, in the Sept 22 letter, said that while the association recognizes the power of Marina to inspect vessels to ensure safety of life and security of property at sea, and to protect the environment, “our members submit that such inspections should be properly coordinated with the ship owners to avoid any delay to the vessels.
“After all, it is mandated in any maritime conventions where inspections are authorized that such inspection should be conducted in a manner that would not cause undue delay to the vessel.” – Roumina Pablo
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