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‘Wag nang hintaying maaksidente! Win Gatchalian wants vessels to comply with maritime safety standards

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Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday called for the enhancement of “maritime safety” to avoid a repeat of maritime accidents in the past.

He sought a review of the compliance to the maritime safety standards and maritime transportation laws set by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to ensure the security and safety of daily maritime passengers especially during typhoons.

“Hindi na natin kailangan pa na hintayin na mayroon na namang barkong lumubog sa kasagsagan ng bagyo para i-review kung nakaka- comply ba tayo sa maritime safety standards na sinet ng MARINA,” he said.

“Dapat automatic na yan dahil buhay ng ating mga kababayan ang nakataya sa tuwing naglalayag sila sa karagatan,” Gatchalian said.

He said that it is imperative for the Senate to review policies set forth by the Executive Branch as it annually deliberates on the government’s expenditure plan for certain programs, including support for maritime transport infrastructure.

“It is crucial that the Philippines maintains a high standard in ensuring the safety of passengers travelling by water as well as adequate protocols to implement the same,” he added.

Data from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that passenger traffic in ports across the country grew by 5.68 percent – from over 72.4 million passengers in 2017 to more than 76.7 million passengers in 2018.

Gatchalian cited the country’s archipelagic composition as the primary reason behind Filipinos’ patronage of maritime vessels, such as the Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels, ferries, fast crafts and motorized bancas.

“This, despite several incidents at sea that have threatened the lives of passengers, even resulting to death,” the senator from Valenzuela said.

However, there had been 922 incidents of engine trouble, 496 incidents of capsizing, and 427 incidents of grounding from 2011 to 2016, according to Gatchalian, citing a recent MARINA report.

Other maritime incidents include collisions, sinking, ramming and fire.

Gatchalian took note that in August 2019, 31 people were killed when three boats capsized in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait.

He said that the growing number of maritime incidents is indicative of the inadequacy of the safety standards set by MARINA and/or lapses in its implementation.

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