THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7 warned it is deploying enforcers to track down illegal or colorum motor bancas, but is also arranging for mobile registration for these water craft, especially those being used by tourists.
“Marina investigates violators if it comes to our knowledge,” said Venancio Vero, regional director of Marina.
Vero said that the agency will conduct mobile registration in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island within this month, to be followed by a similar activity in Negros Oriental. All motor bancas used for tourism or to convey passengers and cargo in areas with limited transportation will have to be documented. He said there was no estimate of the number of these colorum water craft.
Vero said his office will ask for help from Marina’s Enforcement Office to conduct the drive against violators in Region 7.
One such banca that was operating without registration, Vero said, was the Habagat, which nearly capsized off Bohol while ferrying Japanese tourists despite a storm signal warning last February. He said that it also lacked a safety certificate and insurance.
“It had no authority from Marina to ferry passengers and is still under investigation. But the problem is that Marina doesn’t have the power to put violators in jail,” Vero said.
Marina, however, has a deputized agency in the Coast Guard, and local government units also have the power to stop unregistered motor bancas, the director added. (EOB)