HOMEGROWN Evercat Asia Inc. is seeing potential to grow in the domestic front following the Maritime Industry Authority’s (Marina) implementation of its circular that phases out all wooden-hulled vessels that transport passengers.
Yesterday, the shipbuilding business based in Mactan, Cebu held a keel laying ceremony for the CCCS-Sunriser II, the newest vessel added to the fleet of Cordova Inter-island Shipping Lines Inc.
Evercat Asia Inc. specializes in building fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats for the local and international market.
With the growing demand in the domestic scene fueled by growth in tourism and trade, Evercat’s chief executive officer Andrew Aznar said they will be investing to gain a foothold in this promising market.
“We see a strong demand following Marina’s directive to phase out all wooden-hulled passenger ships operating in the country this year. The agency wants these vessels be replaced by more seaworthy and well-made vessels for the safety of passengers,” said Aznar.
The CCCS-Sunriser II scheduled to launch in May will be the largest vessel designed and constructed in FRP in the Philippines. It will also be the first ship in Cordova Inter-island Shipping Lines Inc.’s fleet that can carry 130 passengers per trip.
Aznar said the vessel will be deployed between Cebu Pier 3 and Clarin, Bohol and will have a service speed of 18 knots.
“Evercat’s purpose aims to raise the bar in the sea inter-island transport. We want to ensure safety of the passengers as well as protect our environment,” he said, noting that most of the sea accidents recorded are due to wooden vessels.
Wooden-hulled vessels are one of the primary means of sea transport patronized by locals to access the country’s chain of islands—be it for trade or tourism.
A report said that since 2003, Marina started to phase out wooden-hulled vessels to prevent mishaps that cost lives.
In 2006, the administration of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wanted to phase out steel-hulled vesels that were 20 years old and above.
Earlier, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced plans to remove roll-on/roll-off vessels that are 35 years old or older, as well as wooden-hulled ships.