SEVERAL passengers traveling to and from Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City were stranded for a couple of hours last Wednesday afternoon after some pump boats were not allowed to sail due to expired permits from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Cebu strictly implemented the rules against pump boats with expired permits.
The PCG Cebu found out during their inspection that the validity of the passenger ship safety certificate of the pump boats expired last Jan. 1.
As of press time, Marina 7 Director Jose Venancio Vero Jr. said that the pump boats plying the Hilton Wharf-Olango route are back in operation.
Vero said that about three years ago, their main office issued a circular stating that starting this year, they will slowly remove passenger vessels with wooden hull.
To ensure the safety of the passengers, Marina required boat operators to use fiber glass or steel hull in their passenger boats.
“While wa pay ni-apply (fiber glass/steel hull) padayon usa ang mga pumpboat (wooden hull) sa ilang operation (while no one has applied yet for a permit for boats with fiber glass or steel hull, the operation of the pump boats with wooden hull will continue),” said Vero.
He said several pump boat operators came to their office to process the documents needed for the permit.
In an interview, San Vicente Barangay Captain Cyrus Eyas in Olango, a boat operator, said that it is not easy to build a boat with Marina’s requirements being costly.
He said a shipping company in the island that plans to make a boat with a steel hull has to spend P8 million for one unit with 40-seating capacity.
Jocelyn Menguito, a passenger from Bantayan Island to Lapu-Lapu City, was disappointed for she had not yet crossed to Olango from Angasil yesterday morning.
Menguito and 11 relatives were supposed to attend the wedding of her sibling in Olango yesterday.
“Mahal man pud og mopakyaw mi. Wa ra ba miy kuwarta ani (It is expensive to rent one boat just to cross to Olango),” said Menguito.
The rental of a boat would cost P1,500 to P3,500, depending on the seating capacity. (FMG with FVQ)