THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is tightening its grip on domestic vessels to ensure that no company takes advantage of the slowdown in operations caused by a fire that gutted the agency’s central office last week.
The fire at the Philippine President Lines Building in Manila practically torched all documents filed with Marina. Marina doused reports of foul play, saying there are no high-profile cases pending before it.
“We have enhanced our watch on all Philippine-flag vessels. We have to make sure that no one will take advantage of the situation. We will impose the full penal provision of existing laws if we find anyone exploiting the situation,” Marina head executive assistant Atty. Antero Penasales told PortCalls.
Marina has ordered its enforcement offices nationwide to double check vessels’ documentary requirements, specifically those related to safety, to ensure that only eligible vessels are allowed to sail.
Penasales said the process would continue until Marina reconstructs all documents lost in the fire.
Marina is set to come out with an order mandating all Philippine-flag vessels, including chartered ones, to immediately provide a copy of all documents issued to them by the authority to fast track the reconstruction process. These documents include certificates of public convenience (CPC) issued to shipping lines as well as safety certificates, special permits, and financial statements.
No documents on seizure cases, violation of the conditions of CPCs, maritime law violations and other pending cases before the Marina were damaged by the fire.
The issuance of the Seaman’s Individual Record Book or SIRB was also not affected.
Marina is looking at transferring to a Philippine Ports Authority building in Intramuros. At the height of the fire, Marina operated out of YIC Building, fronting its old building.
Full commercial operations are expected today.