Home » Maritime » PCG wants age cap for passenger vessel imports

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) wants to cap the age of passenger vessels that may be imported to 10 years to improve safety.

Vessels operating in the Philippines are usually 21-25 years old.

“We are looking at 10 years old for imports and 20 years old for retirement after which the vessel may still be utilized but for cargo only,” PCG said in a document obtained by PortCalls.

“Operators should also be required to adopt the original type of trading operation of vessels as they were originally constructed or utilized in the country of origin before its importation in the Philippines,” PCG said, adding that government should also ban major alteration/conversion/modification of imported vessels especially when this affects the original tonnage.

Local vessel operators often prefer cheap second-hand imports that are more than 20 years old. The vessels then usually undergo alterations such as conversion of empty spaces into additional passage or cargo rooms on top of the usual washover to improve vessel appearance. But the PCG said these practices have led to tragic maritime accidents.

The passage of the Domestic Shipping Development Act (DSDA) in 2004, which offered incentive schemes for operators wanting to modernize their fleet, did not put a stop to the dangerous practices.

Under the DSDA, operators are exempt from paying the value-added tax on the import and local purchase of passenger and/or cargo vessels of 150 tons and above, including engine and spare parts of said vessels provided the vessels comply with the age limit requirement at the time of acquisition. The cap for passenger and/or cargo vessels is 15 years; for tankers, 10 years; and high-speed passenger crafts, five years.





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