MANILA All passengers of ships with open deckhouses plying sea routes are required to wear life jackets at all times, according to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) reiterated on Wednesday.
All sea passengers of ships with open deckhouse shall be required to wear lifejackets from the time of departure and during the entire voyage, except in floating restaurants and in ships used in river crossings, in which case life jackets shall be placed in an easily accessible location, Marina said in a statement.
The measure is included in the agency's Memorandum Circular No. 08 or the Rules to Implement Safety Measures for Passenger Ships with Open Deckhouse" issued in 2008.
The order also requires all ships to implement safety measures, establish a public address system, disseminate safety instructions in the local dialect, Filipino and English, and ensure that the number of life jackets are equal to the total number of passengers and crew.
A deckhouse is a ship cabin that protrudes above the level of a ship's deck.
All passengers who disobey the policy will be required to disembark.
The order came after three motor bancas capsized in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait due to bad weather over the weekend, killing at least 31 people.
On Monday, Marina suspended the operation of all passenger wooden-hulled bancas plying the Iloilo�Guimaras route to conduct a thorough safety standards assessment and evaluation.
Additional ships from private companies have been directed to ply the sea route to augment the needs of sea passengers in the area.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and other government officials on Wednesday visited Iloilo to inspect various transportation facilities and projects in the province.
Tugade also checked on the status of sea commuters in the area, with one passenger at the Iloilo Fastcraft Terminal saying they now prefer to pay PHP35 for passage in a Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vessel because it is safer that paying PHP15 for wooden-hulled bancas. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency