Maritime agencies, groups commit to maritime safety agreement
The country’s maritime regulators and maritime groups have committed to uphold and preserve maritime safety and marine protection during this year’s Maritime Safety Summit in Manila on Wednesday, organized by the Maritime Industry Authority.
The Maritime Safety Summit has converged the country’s maritime regulators, namely the Marina, the Philippine Coast Guard, Cebu Ports Authority and the Philippine Ports Authority; and other Philippine agencies such as the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and the National Telecommunication Commission, in which they sealed the Resolution conceptualized by Marina in the aspects of Safety of Ships and the Prevention of Marine Pollution, Effective Implementation of Safety Management System, Modern and Well-maintained Maritime Infrastructure, and Producing Well-trained and Qualified Maritime Workforce—all anchored in the aim to create a culture of safer people, safer ships, and cleaner environment in the domestic shipping.
For the Safety of Ships and the Prevention of Marine Pollution, the agencies and maritime groups committed to implementing, reviewing, and enforcing stringent requirements for life-saving appliances, fire-fighting structures and systems, radio communication, cargo securing, and measures to prevent marine pollution to ensure safety and reduce marine pollution. To improve the content and the efficiency of ship surveys; mandate shipowners to reserve time slots for annual ship inspections outside port calls; and raise public awareness of government regulations through intensified Information, Education, and Communication campaigns to inculcate a culture of safety throughout the maritime community.
Further, the signatories of the resolution also vowed to enhance the monitoring of Marina Accredited Classification Societies, particularly for ships of new construction, to improve the classing of ships and to rationalize a reasonable tariff as well; to coordinate, communicate and cooperate with relevant Government Agencies to ensure full and effective implementation, review and enforcement of regulations to strengthen maritime safety and to address challenges within the industry; and to develop emergency action plans to address data privacy violations, enhancing communication and coordination among stakeholders.
For the part of Effective Implementation of the Safety Management System or SMS, agencies vowed to develop standardized training programs to promote the effective implementation of the International Safety Management or ISM Code, specifically for designated persons ashore and including top managers, ship operators, and other ISM practitioners and implementers, ensuring that safety is paramount in all operations; for ship owners and operators to consider Republic Act No. 11058 or Occupational Safety and Health Law in their development and implementation of SMS; and to assess the competency criteria for seafarers regarding their understanding of SMS implementation and the ISM Code.
Also, the abovementioned agencies, for the Modern and Well-maintained Maritime Infrastructure segment, are committed to establishing advanced Rescue and Communication Centers, equipped with Global Maritime Distress and Safety System or GMDSS infrastructure, to bolster Search and Rescue capabilities, ensuring the safety of lives at sea.
Marina, together with government agencies and stakeholders also promised to establish and develop a Search and Rescue Cooperation Plan and remain committed to securing funding and augmenting its assets and trained personnel dedicated to SAR operations.
Maritime agencies and stakeholders also vowed to organize a SAREX (search and rescue) team in strategic areas that will be participated by the Department of Transportation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, local government units, non-government organizations, and PCG Auxiliary Organization, to be led by the PCG.
Further, they also promised to encourage volunteers, private sectors, and NGOs to invest in technology, coordination, and communication, further enhancing our search and rescue capabilities; to identify GMDSS areas and produce coverage maps for all agencies and crews; to continue efforts to secure funding for additional search and rescue assets and trained personnel to enhance our capacity for swift and effective SAR operations; to improve the promulgation and broadcast of maritime safety information (meteorological and navigational warnings) in collaboration with relevant government agencies, reducing risks associated with adverse weather conditions; enhance coordination among agencies and establish information-sharing mechanism relative to the publication of Notice to Mariners and to ensure up-to-date nautical charts and publications; and to identify critical areas where nautical charts are not up-to-date, draw up a funding plan and schedule for mapping these areas.
For the revitalization of the shipyard industry, agencies and stakeholders support the development of shipbuilding and ship repair facilities to ensure the seaworthiness of our vessels and provide additional and expanded slipways by shipyard owners and investors, while for ports development, they vowed to improve passenger terminals and other port facilities, and pursue capacity development and collaboration to address knowledge gaps in infrastructure project assessment and evaluation by the relevant Government Agencies and port stakeholders.
Other signatories adhering to the resolution were private sector groups, namely the Society of Naval Architect and Marine Engineer Inc., Philippine Interisland Shipping Association, Philippine Liner Shipping Association, Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association, Shipyard Association of the Philippines, Lighterage Association of the Philippines, Philippine Petroleum Sea Transport Association, Ship Managers Association of the Philippines, Marine Technical Superintendent Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Maritime Institute, and the Philippine Association of Maritime Training Center, Inc.
“All these are strongly dependent on the capacity of the regulatory body particularly Marina, PCG, PPA, CPA, and other concerned agencies to enforce the implementation of its mandates. We must all play our part as a responsible and accountable maritime nation, bearing in mind the cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, and convenience as the identity of the industry rather than maritime accidents resulting from either human error or technical malfunction,” said Marina Administrator Hernani Fabia.
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