Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » PH safety rules in construction, operation of Ro-Ro ships issued

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has issued precautionary measures and other safety concerns relating to the construction and operation of roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) passenger ships plying the domestic trade.

Under Marina Advisory (MA) No. 2017-26, all ship owners, operators of Philippine-registered ships, masters and crew, shipbuilding and ship repair entities, and all others concerned have been ordered, to strictly comply with the rules in constructing and acquiring Ro-Ro passenger ships and in operating existing ones.

The maritime authority said this is “in line with the declared policy to enhance the safety and quality of all Marina-registered ships operating in the domestic trade, and consistent with the mandate to provide for effective supervision and regulation of the organizational management, ownership and operation of all Ro-Ro passenger ships” as set forth under existing laws and regulations.

Marina said it is also in line with the Enhancement of Safety of Ships Carrying Passengers on Non-International Voyages, otherwise known as the Manila Statement, which was adopted by the International Maritime Organization Conference in April 2015.

MA 2017-26 stated that newly constructed or acquired Ro-Ro passenger ships, whether built locally or imported, must have ramps located at the stern (straight or quarter) portion of the ship so as not to compromise safety during navigation.

Further, all existing Ro-Ro passenger ships designed with forward ramp must relocate the ramp over to the stern (straight or quarter) portion, subject to approval of plans by Marina. These ships are given a one-year grace period, to be reckoned during the next dry-docking schedule, to comply with the required modification of ramp design.

Ro-Ro passenger ships with landing craft tank (LCT)-type design will no longer be allowed to carry passengers, MA 2017-26 said. Existing or newly constructed Ro-Ro passenger ships with LCT-type design shall be given a two-year grace period to operate, but as cargo ships.

To further ensure safe operation of all Ro-Ro ships plying the domestic trade, Marina is directing all concerned to observe several policies.

One, utilizing the ship’s forward ramp as a stopper is restricted; two, executing docking maneuvers should be observed by all masters and crew to prevent structural damages to the ship’s forward ramp and to port structures.

MA 2017-26 also stated that all cargoes should be stowed and secured at the car deck “in such a way that the ship and passengers onboard are not put at risk in accordance with ship’s approved Cargo Securing Manual (CSM).”

Only authorized personnel are permitted on deck during loading or discharging operations. They should also be equipped with personal protective equipment such as high-visibility vests with retro reflective material, safety helmet, and safety shoes.

Passengers and other personnel not involved in ship operations should be prohibited from loitering on the ship’s ramp during operations.

The shore approach to the ramp of the Ro-Ro  should be clear at all times and safety lanes kept clear of all materials, such as lashing materials that pose tripping hazards to all boarding passengers during operation.

Passenger Ro-Ro ships must also provide a designated passage from the ramp to the passenger accommodation area.

All watertight doors, manholes, and ramps shall be securely fastened, locked, and checked prior to the ship’s leaving the port and during the voyage. Equally, forward ramps are restricted from being lowered during voyages.

Shipboard personnel must ensure that damaged trailer and heavy plant vehicles are moved with extreme caution and towing done under attention and precautions.

Lastly, petroleum cargoes can be allowed only on vessels with forced draft ventilations and appropriate fire-fighting equipment and gas detection system corresponding to the type of petroleum.

The advisory dated and signed on December 15 was published on December 20 and took effect immediately.

MA 2017-26 was published a day before ferry boat MV Mercraft 3 capsized between the waters off Quezon Province and Polilio Island due to heavy rains and strong winds caused by bad weather, claiming five lives. – Roumina Pablo

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