Home » Maritime » Wooden-hulled ships subject of technical study

REPRESENTATIVES of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) are arriving in Manila next month to discuss plans for a technical study on the use of wooden-hulled vessels.

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Oscar M. Sevilla said the study aims to look at the status of wooden-hulled vessels operating locally, as well as the guidelines and procedures necessary in building such a ship, including the materials to be used and its required structure.

The maritime agency earlier deferred the scheduled phase out of wooden-hulled ships, most of whom are involved in maritime disasters. MARINA said most shipping operators have shown resistance to the plan because of their inability to finance a shift to steel-hulled vessels.

“Shipping operators said it is not viable to remove the antiquated wooden hulled ships since 60% of the domestic fleet is comprised of such vessels,” the agency said. Late last year, MARINA issued Memorandum Circular No. 190 ordering the gradual phase out of wooden-hulled vessels operating in the domestic trade following a series of sea accidents involving such vessels.

Under the directive, wooden-hulled vessels with over 100-500 gross tonnage will only be allowed to operate until 2006. Those with 35-100 GT will be allowed to operate until 2008, and 3-35 GT until 2010.

Sevilla said the agency will also not allow entry of wooden-hulled vessels until such time that the technical study has been completed. This way, shipping operators will be compelled to follow strict guidelines and requirements, he noted.

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