THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has asked domestic shipowners to prioritize the transport of needed relief goods to the typhoon-affected areas.

It has authorized 32 ships to carry relief goods and transport of passengers in various areas severely affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, Marina said Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Marina administrator Robert Empedrad renewed his call for more domestic owners and ship operators to apply for special permits in areas that are most in need of resources.

He said Marina will give priority consideration in the processing of such applications.

Twelve ships have been given the green light to resume operations in Surigao, Cebu, Southern Leyte, Negros Oriental and Dinagat Islands.

Marina said five more will serve Surigao and its various islands once they have complied with safety requirements following inspection and audit undertaken by maritime safety engineers.

Twenty ships have also been authorized to resume their operations and have been urged to prioritize the carriage of relief goods from various donors.

These ships have routes in Manila, Bogo, Ilolilo, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Dapitan, Liloan and Agusan del Norte.

Marina assures the public, especially in areas affected by the typhoon, that it will continue to implement policies that will help avoid the impeding of transport of goods and services nationwide.

It also encourages the riding public to cooperate with the safety measures implemented by the agency, as well as the national government to achieve zero maritime casualty.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Jim Sydiongco flew to Siargao, Surigao, Southern Leyte and Mactan to assess the extent of the damage and to immediately come up with the program of works as basis for securing a budget for airport repair works.

“This will be done in phases. Phase 1 is to secure, clean and make the affected airports operationally safe for the conduct of emergency evacuation, medical rescue, military, government, and sweeper flights,” Sydiongco said.

“We need to be able to identify provisional pre-departure and holding areas, so that later on, we can make it partially operational to cater to passenger operations, and eventually, full airline flight operations.”