Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » MARINA issues rules on conversion of ships from domestic to int’l trade

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has issued rules on registration and documentation of ships for permanent conversion from domestic to international voyages.

All ships of domestic ownership plying Philippine waters regardless of size and use must be registered and issued a Certificate of Philippine Registry (CPR) and Certificate of Ownership (CO) from domestic to international trade, according to MARINA Memorandum Circular (MC) OS-2019-02, which takes effect on August 31.

Companies may acquire and register additional ships without limit on the number of ships to be chartered. This is pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) 760 (allowing the temporary registration of foreign-owned vessels under time charter or lease to Philippine nationals for use in the Philippine coastwise trade subject to certain conditions), as amended.

All ships registered under MC OS-2019-02 will not be deleted from the Philippine registry/reverted to their domestic trading without prior approval from MARINA.

The company will be accredited under MARINA MC 181, or its subsequent amendment, provided such accreditation is maintained for the period that the company has a registered ship. This MC lists qualifications for accrediting shipping companies which plan to acquire ships for registration under the Philippine flag or operate Philippine-registered ships for international voyages.

The company must have a minimum paid-up capital of P7 million.

Philippine-registered ships must comply with requirements of the International Safety Management Code for safe operation of ships and for pollution prevention.

The company must strictly comply with all relevant international conventions, rules and regulations, and national laws, rules and regulations of the Philippines pertaining to Philippine registered ships, their operations, management and control.

Ships registered under MC OS-2019-02 will be completely manned by a Filipino crew, and class-maintained by an internationally recognized classification society. Any change in the classification of a Philippine-registered ship should be immediately communicated to MARINA.

The crew on board are required to be certificated in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

MARINA may allow supernumeraries—persons in addition to the regular complement of crew—on board Philippine-registered ships only under certain circumstances. These include instances when the supernumeraries have to act as privately contracted armed security personnel; oversee and observe the ship’s operating condition on behalf of the registered owner; act as a technical person in order to carry out general or specific maintenance of the ship; perform necessary repair on board the ship; and other analogous circumstances. The supernumeraries, however, shall neither perform any of the functions of the crew nor interfere with the operation or management of the ship.

Applicants for conversion must secure a letter from MARINA’s Domestic Shipping Service for non-objection to the permanent conversion of trading status, and pay the necessary processing fee.

The permanent conversion approval fee is P9,700; issuance of CPR and CO is P3,200 plus P1.50 per gross tonnage (GT) in excess of 500 GT; and issuance of Minimum Safe Manning Certificate costs P12,500.

Companies found to have violated or contravened rules under CM OS-2019-02, after due notice and gearing, shall be fined P500,000 for the first offense; P1 million for the second offense; and cancellation of CPR for the third and succeeding offenses.

According to MARINA, there are 101 Philippine overseas registered ships in 2018, most of which are vessels for general cargo, bulk carriers, and tankers. As of May 2019, there are 60 companies registered under MC 181. – Roumina Pablo

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