Home » Maritime » Shipowners call off shipping ‘holiday’

THE National Coalition of Shipping Associations (NCSA) over the weekend aborted today’s planned maritime strike after government suspended some Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) policies, which they were opposing.

Among these policies are the implementation of the mandatory Protection and Indemnity insurance cover; greater accessibility of life jackets to passengers on inter-island ships; higher qualifications on crew competency; and increase in fines and penalties for violators of Marina’s rules and regulations promoting safety of life and properties at sea.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last Wednesday ordered the immediate suspension of the Marina circulars following a dialogue with shipowners. She directed Transport Secretary Leandro Mendoza to form a technical working committee to address their concerns.

“The shipowners feel that their concerns in the Marina have been addressed and there will be continued dialogue with government agencies so that issues and regulations found to be deficient and disadvantageous to the maritime industry shall be jointly reviewed and rectified as appropriate,” NCSA president Christopher Pastrana said.

Top officials of the shipping coalition attended a meeting last Friday with Mendoza. Shipping operators want to be represented in the technical working group.

The NCSA is composed of the Alliance of Philippine Shipping Organization, Lighterage Association of the Philippines, Metro Manila Tugs, Boats and Barge Owners Association, Philippine Ro-Ro Operators Association, United Trampers Association of the Philippines and the Visayas Association of Ferry Boats and Coastwise Service Operators (VAFCSO). They operate about 500 vessels servicing mostly feeder ports.

As for the coalition demand to remove Marina administrator Ma. Elena Bautista from office, VAFCSO lawyer and spokesman Dexter Viñan said they would leave the issue to the President. He said their key concern was the unfair policies of Marina.

He noted they are not ruling out the holding of a maritime protest in the future.

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