Tue07292014

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Bill setting up ship registry filed

Aparty-list lawmaker over the weekend filed a bill establishing the country’s ship registry to attract foreign-owned vessels to register under the Philippines’s flag.

House Bill 3647, filed by Rep. Jesulito Manalo of Angkla Party-list, aims to provide a legal framework for the rules on ship registry and the enforcement of maritime claims and limitations of liability.

The bill provides for the creation of the Philippine Ship Registry through which the state confers nationality, exercises its jurisdiction, protects and enforces private rights, and undertakes the national and international responsibilities of a flag state, over all ships flying the Philippines’s flag.

The proposal states that the Philippine Ship Registry shall comprise the Register of Ships and the Record of Ship Mortgages and Encumbrances and shall be maintained by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Under the measure, all ships operating within the maritime territory and jurisdiction of the Philippines, except transient foreign flag ships subject to such regulations as Marina may prescribe, are mandated to register with the Philippines’s registry.

The bill said the mandatory registration under the Philippines’s flag is particularly required when the ship is 500 gross tons or more; is owned by a qualified person and meets the requirements, on safety, security, marine environmental protection, crew nationality, training certification and competency and crew welfare, among others.

The bill also provides for the conditions for registration, documentary requirements, as well as types of registration.

Manalo said the lack of a particular law that completely addresses the ship-registry system in the Philippines has resulted in a low number of ships flying the Philippines’s flag.

“The country is widely known as a major supplier of maritime professional yet records will show that we only have about 200 vessels registered under our flag state,” Manalo said.

The party-list lawmaker added that once the ship-registry system is organized, ample protection would be extended equally to ship owners carrying the Philippines’s flag and all other parties who have a legitimate claim against them.

Manalo also said the registration of a ship under the Philippines’s registry confers upon it the nationality and status of a Philippines’s ship; entitles it to the protection of the Philippines’s flag as well as imposes on it the duty to fly the Philippines’s flag.

Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

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