THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7 assured the public yesterday that cargo vessels based in Cebu are seaworthy and have passed safety inspections, said Marina 7 Maritime specialist Mardon Martin.

Martin reacted to the statement of Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto “TG” Guigona III that Marina is lax in implementing maritime laws, resulting in sea tragedies.

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“The recent sinking of the mv Baleno 9 and mv Catalyn B indicates a chronic weakness in the regulatory system of Marina,” Guigona said.

In the past months, Guingona said, several ships leaving Cebu for various destinations in the Visayas and Mindanao conked out at sea because of engine trouble.

This resulted in public suspicion that Marina is not doing its job of seeing to it that all vessels are in good condition before they are issued passenger ship safety certificates.

Guingona, in a press statement e-mailed to Sun.Star Cebu, cited reports from the Philippine Coast Guard. The reports said that in 2009 alone, there were 69 sea accidents.

“These (accidents) are just the latest in a long series of maritime disasters, some of which have not been yet resolved to the satisfaction of all,” Guingona said.

He said that if Marina is really implementing the maritime laws, it should not allow substandard vessels to sail.

But Martin said no vessel is issued a safety certificate if it did not pass inspection requirements set by Marina. The safety requirements are based on the guidelines set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Martin said there is an annual inspection of vessels to determine their seaworthiness before the safety certificate is renewed.

Also, each vessel undergoes dry-docking at any licensed shipyard every two years, Martin said.