The new guidelines will take effect on May 5.
Marina Circular No. 2017-02 covers all domestic shipping companies, operators, charterers, oil companies, ship agents, private and public corporations, partnerships and associations, and other maritime entities accredited by Marina under MC No. 2006-003 and/or 106, and their amendments, and that intend to utilize foreign-registered highly specialized ships within the country’s territorial waters.
Excluded from the coverage of MC No. 2017-02 are ships owned by another sovereign entity performing, under any treaty or agreement, any governmental function within Philippine waters, including foreign ships used incidental to such functions. The movement of these ships will follow international customs and practices governing such vessels, the circular stated.
However, Marina said such ships may still be covered by implementing guidelines that may be issued by the maritime authority and the appropriate government agency.
Highly specialized ships are those used in petroleum exploration and operation such as seismic survey vessels, drilling rigs, construction support vessels, platform support vessels, platform supply vessels, floating production storage and offloading vessels, vessels for condensate lifting and delivery; floating storage and regasification units used to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) for offshore regasification; and floating storage units used to receive LNG for onshore regasification, and LNG carriers.
Other ships that have onboard machinery and equipment specifically designed for a special purpose may be considered as highly specialized ships, as determined by Marina.
Special permit processing
MC No. 2017-02 said companies and entities that intend to operate foreign-registered highly specialized ships in Philippine waters must secure a special permit from Marina.
The special permit “shall be primarily predicated on the objective of insuring the provision of required shipping services where such is not readily available and suitable from the domestic fleet, so as not to prejudice efficient trade and commerce, delivery of critical services/commodities, and infrastructure and development projects.”
Marina said the special permit will be issued on two conditions. One, if there is no readily available and suitable Philippine-registered ship operating within Philippine territorial waters for domestic trade to meet the specific shipping requirements of the shipper or consignee, as verified from the concerned shipping association and organization.
Two, if public interest so warrants.
Applications for the special permit should be filed with the Domestic Shipping Service, once the documentary requirements are submitted and the corresponding processing fee is paid.
All applications will have a valid contract/fixture note/contract of affreightment or time/ voyage charter contract. The special permit is valid for at least one month and renewable. Its maximum period of validity is co-terminus with the period of the charter contract, and may be renewed upon submission of a new charter contract and other documentary requirements.
Foreign-registered ships are not required to convert to Philippine registry in order to renew the special permit, MC 2017-02 pointed out.
All ships covered must also be classed by an international organization recognized by their flag administration, and have valid safety and trading certificates for the duration of the special permit.
All covered ships should also have the mandatory marine insurance to cover liabilities arising from pollution and wreck removal, with such insurance issued by a recognized international protection and indemnity club.
In addition, all concerned companies and entities must submit to Marina the entry and exit clearance documents issued by the Bureau of Customs to prove the actual dates of arrival and departure of the vessel or rig in the Philippines.
Violators of the Marina circular face fines and penalties. For operating without the special permit, a fine of P5 million plus P100,000 per day of operation will be imposed.
For operating with an expired special permit, a fine of P3 million plus P75,000 per day of operation will be collected, while violation of any provision or non-compliance with the post-approval conditions and documentary requirements will be sanctioned with revocation of the special permit, and a fee of P1 million plus P50,000 per day of operation. – Roumina Pablo
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