PH Merchant Shipping Act to be chopped up into several bills

The original bill failed to reach first reading because of its “complicated setup”, according to Maritime Industry Authority officer-in-charge Atty. Nicasio Conti.

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is breaking down the proposed Philippine Merchant Shipping Act into several bills in order to facilitate approval.

In a recent roundtable discussion with media, Marina officer-in-charge Atty. Nicasio Conti noted the proposed bill has failed to even reach first reading “due to its complicated set up”.

The agency will now subdivide the proposed law into “several sectors of the maritime industry to be refiled as separate bills for easy understanding and action by Congress” when the body opens in July 2013.

“We will have separate bill proposals for domestic shipping, international shipping and … the creation of an admiralty court and a maritime adjudication agency,” Conti said.

Under the current Congress, the proposed bill was not even tabled for discussion even if it had been endorsed by 30 congressmen.

The proposed law establishes detailed ship safety standards; expands industry’s access to credit and reduces documentary requirements for ship mortgages; and promotes protection and indemnity cover or insurance for pollution, salvage and wreck removal and substantially re-enacts the marine insurance provisions of the Insurance Code.

It also updates the law on charter parties to accommodate contemporary commercial practices by providing for four different types of charter party — voyage, time, volume contract of affreightment, and non-vessel operating common carrier.

In addition, it provides for the establishment of an admiralty court for maritime accidents and a Maritime Arbitration Commission for commercial and employment disputes.