TWO “water buses” are ready to ferry passengers from Lapu-Lapu City.
This, after maritime authorities ordered the phaseout of motorbancas with wooden hulls.
The two vessels are operated by Maxboat Marine Corp., which initially offered to deploy water buses as alternatives to buses and public utility jeepneys for commuters from Mactan going to mainland Cebu.
Barbara Salmero, Maxboat’s chief executive officer, told Superbalita Cebu that they were willing to help the Lapu-Lapu City Government assist affected commuters, especially those who live in island barangays.
Salmero said they would also help interested operators who wanted to avail themselves of their water bus design and to secure the bank loan to construct the vessel.
“In the past, we were able to start a group to open a cooperative for sea transport but it didn’t push through because of lack of support. Normally, if they apply (for a loan) at the bank, the bank will require a vessel design and a quotation. We will provide these for free,” she said.
Salmero said she opened a shipyard in response to Circular 2016-02 of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), which mandates the phasing out of wooden-hulled ships.
For now, one operator has chartered one of Maxboat’s water buses to transport passengers to and from Olango Island, while it is currently selling the second water bus.
“Maxboat Marine is willing to help bangka operators the best way we can for their upgrade,” Salmero said.
Marina re-issued the circular early this week, following accidents at sea involving wooden-hulled boats. (FROM HBL OF SUPERBALITA CEBU/ JKV)