TAKING the bigger role in propelling the Philippines to the Asean Integration, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has planned out its strategic directions to meet the challenges in the years to come.

As a premier maritime administration in Southeast Asia, Marina is committed to heighten its standing in the shipping, shipbuilding/repair and seafaring globally.

Engr. Emmanuel B. Carpio, Marina regional director for Regions 10 and 13 said that in ensuring the realization of Marina’s goal of promoting improved accessibility, mobility and interconnectivity, safe, secure, efficient and sustainable transportation systems, strategic objectives developed for 2013 and beyond are already in the works.

Carpio, during the Shipping Conference held here recently, outlined Marina’s four main objectives namely: an attractive Philippine ship registry; the country as a major center for shipbuilding and repair; modern and vibrant domestic merchant fleet as part of a seamless transportation system; and sustained development of globally competitive seafarers.

Marina said that its objective is to nurture and strengthen the competitiveness of the Philippines maritime industry and enhance functional performance as the single Maritime Administration in the implementation of the 1978 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers.

“The critical role of Marina in ensuring an integrated and coordinated transport network is incontestable for an archipelagic country like the Philippines,” Carpio said.

He said that since a high percentage of domestic and international commerce, travel and tourism are by sea and air, the efficiency of aviation and maritime transportation has become increasingly critical to growth and competitiveness.

Marina documented that in 2012 the country’s domestic merchant fleet comprised 8,112 vessels where 60 percent or 4,837 vessels are for passenger service, and most of which are motor bancas or boats.

Cargo ships account 28 percent or 2,291 vessels of which 795 or 10 percent are tankers and tugboats. There are about 6,000 registered fishing vessels.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), estimate, around 80 percent of global trade by volume and 70 percent by value is transported by sea.

UNCTAD, the principal organ of the United Nations general assembly dealing with trade, investment and other development issues, ranked the Philippines as the 29th maritime country among the top 35 flags of registration.

The Philippines has registered 126 overseas fleet the majority of which are bulk carrier, general cargo and tankers.

“As to the Philippines registered vessels operating overseas manned by Filipino seafarers, our statistics show that we have reached our highest peak in 2009 and 2010 with 170 ships with the corresponding high number of Filipino crew. In 2012, Marina recorded the lowest number of registered ships and Filipino seafarers,” Carpio said.

The country has 121 licensed shipyards where eight have facilities for the construction and repair of big vessels.

Class ‘A’ shipyards have facilities of at least 20,000 Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) capacity per area, with lifting capacity of 20,000 DWT and paid up capital of over P50 million.

There are 14 shipyards for medium-sized ships and 99 yards to service smaller ships.

These shipyards employ close to 8,000 workers.

In 2012, the Philippines stood as the 5th world’s largest shipbuilding country after China, Japan, Korea and Brazil.

Marina said that the ranking came as more local shipyards like Tsuneishi Heavy Industries, Inc., Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation Philippines, and Keppel Philippines Marine Inc., were building more ships of large tonnage capacities like bulk carriers, containers ships and passenger ferries for export.