Wooden-hulled ships, motorbancas to be phased out by December 11

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 June) — Wooden-hulled ships and motorbancas ferrying passengers will no longer be allowed to operate starting December 11 this year, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in Caraga region said.

The phase-out applies to all Philippine-registered wooden-hulled ships carrying passengers, according to Marina Circular 2016-02.

Maria Roselyn Castano, supervising shipping operations specialist of Marina-Caraga told MindaNews that this will only apply to routes where steel-hulled ships are available.

She said this will specifically affect the Surigao-Dapa and Surigao-Dinagat routes which are served by steel-hulled ships.

“All existing certificates of public convenience, special permits, provisional authority, other temporary authority issued to wooden-hulled ships and motorbancas operating in routes that are fully served by steel-hulled ships shall be terminated or cancelled within six months from notice,” she said.

The memorandum was signed on April 29, 2016 by Maximo Q. Mejia, administrator of Marina but received by its Caraga office only last week.

The circular tool effect on June 11, 15 days after it was pushed in a newspaper.

Owners and workers in the motorbanca busines are saddened by this development.

Leonor Plaza, owner of several motorbancas plying the Surigao-Dapa route said passengers still prefer to ride his boat compare instead of the steel-hulled ships.

“Traditionally it’s the mode of transportation in going to islands and people love it. We can satisfy the riding public in terms of travel time,” Plaza adding his boats can match the speed of all the steel-hulled ships. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)