Philippine government orders suspension of ferry’s safety certificate following onboard fire

Photo: Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine government, through regulatory body the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), has ordered the suspension of the passenger ship safety certificate of a locally-owned ferry following an incident wherein a fire ignited on board the same vessel late last week.

The suspension order comes days after the Ro-Pax ferry Asia Philippines suffered severe damage from a blaze that originated in a yet-unspecified onboard area while underway off Batangas province on Friday, August 26.

A total of nine passengers and crew were initially reported missing. However, both the Philippine Coast Guard and operator Starlite Ferries later confirmed that all of the vessel’s 80 occupants are safe and accounted for.

Emmanuel Carpio, head of the MARINA’s Southern Tagalog Mainland regional office, said Asia Philippines will be thoroughly inspected to assess its seaworthiness after the incident called a number of factors into question. These factors include the integrity of the hull and other affected machinery.

The ferry was originally built in 1975 and sailed under two different operators before being acquired by Starlite Ferries earlier this year.

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