A SHIPPING line is soon to launch its Zamboanga-Basilan and vice-versa route.
This was announced by Mark Saladino, Fast Cast assistant vice president for operations, when he and other technical officials of the company paid a courtesy visit to Basilan Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman on Wednesday. They were accompanied by Board Member Moumar Muarip.
Saladino said that they are in the final stage of preparation for the launch of its maiden voyage, a plan more than six years in waiting.
“The boat’s ramp is now being prepared at the port of Isabela City,” Saladino told Salliman.
Salliman welcomed Fast Cat’s entry to the Zamboanga-Basilan sea route, saying the new venture augurs well for the economic recovery of Basilan province.
Salliman said the entry of Fast Cat will add more traffic of goods and services to and from the mainland of Mindanao.
“Seeing the potential of Basilan to develop, it has been an interest for shipping companies and investors to come and take part of the island's developing economy,” Saladino said.
He added their ships can go to a top speed of 19 knots, and each can carry up to 300 passengers, 40 cars and about seven trucks and buses.
He said the Fast Cat vessel is also equipped with elevators for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Muarip, who pushed for the new venture at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in 2017, lamented that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic had caused the delay of Fast Cat’s entry to Basilan.
Muarip said he was delighted after six years of waiting the dream of a new shipping venture in Basilan is coming to a reality.
He said Fast Cat is a big help to the increasing population of Basilan, especially students and workers, who have to take the Zamboanga-Basilan trips every day. (SunStar Zamboanga)