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Philippines authorities to push up industry fines

Philippines authorities to push up industry fines

Manila: Ship owners in violation of maritime regulations would have to pay stiffer fines by the middle of June, and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) intends to form a team of inspectors to conduct random inspections of ships nationwide, writes the Business Mirror.

A circular that will take effect by the middle of June has raised most of the fines Marina imposes on violators of marine regulations. Marina's Memorandum Circular 2009-11 covers the industry's shipbuilding, ship repair and manpower sectors.According to the circular, between P5,000 and P30,000 in fines would be levied against ship owners doing business without the proper accreditation from Marina.

The fines go as high as P75,000 for violation of charter-hire agreements and P300,000 for operating without insurance coverage.
The Marina circular also places a fine of up to P30,000 against a ship found outside the parameters of its CPC, or certificate of public convenience, as well as the cancellation of the CPC, which is equivalent to a franchise to operate.

The move is in line with Malacañang's previous order to review all government fees and charges with a view to boost revenue collection of government agencies.

Shipbuilders and those engaged in ship repair found without a license issued by Marina face fines of up to P150,000. The shipbuilding and ship- repair facilities would also be shut-down, and certificates of accreditation would be suspended or cancelled on top of a P200,000 fine for facilities with tampered or falsified documents.

The Marina circular also revised the penalties for the manpower sector. "Shipping companies/operators shall be held responsible for spurious or tampered documents submitted by any seafarer [and] which were secured or tampered [with] by the shipping company/operators/liaison."

It also revised its penalties for training centers and other entities offering courses in maritime security. Operating without accreditation from Marina would now be levied a penalty of P50,000 for first violation and P200,000 for the third offense.

"A maritime violation receipt shall be issued by the Marina enforcement officers and deputized agents for any maritime violation resulting from their verification and monitoring activities," Marina said in its circular.

Marina earlier said it is focusing more on the safety of passengers in its moves to prevent accidents at sea--one of the main reasons passengers tend to shun sea transport.

According to Marina deputy administrator Primo Rivera, maritime regulator is creating a "boarding team" composed of government and private- sector representatives to conduct random inspections of vessels.

With the onset of the rainy season and the resumption of classes, Rivera said Marina is targeting trade hotspots such as Batangas, Boracay, Caticlan and Cebu. He did not elaborate.

"We will start first with the ferry boats, passenger ships and cargo vessels," Rivera said. "The move is not related to [any] recent incident but has been in the pipeline the past couple of months to ensure that our vessels are complying with the standards on safety, specifically their compliance with the International Safety Management and National Safety Management Codes," he added.  [01/06/09]