Marina: DMCI boats for Yolanda victims 'not seaworthy'
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Seven months after their construction, about 500 wooden boats donated by DMCI property company to the government were deemed "not seaworthy" by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
The government is still awaiting replacements as the boats worth P1 million were found to have limited durability. (READ: 500 pump boats for Yolanda survivors still unused)
On September 9, a team from Marina, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) carried out technical evaluation and survey on the 500 non-motorized wooden boats found near the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Barangay Baras, Palo, Leyte.
The boats were intended for fisherfolks affected by Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan).
After the evaluation, the team found out that:
- The vessels were coated with a green-colored, ordinary paint.
- The vessels were built by a non-licensed Marina boat builder.
- Construction of the vessel is not in accordance and does not conform with Marina Circular No. 2011-9, or the agency's rules for construction of wooden hulled boats.
- More or less 70% of the 500 boats are already deteriorating, with the outer layer of marine plywood already separated from the inner layer.
- Bamboo floaters and outriggers intended for the boats were not yet installed and were found dilapidated.
- The vessel's side framing space is lacking.
- The vessel is not "fit for fishing" operation due to its structural condition.
- The size of the transverse frames and stringer appeared sub-standard.
- The marine plywood used is not Class A quality. "No fishing as the beneficiaries wait for seaworthy boats."
Given the massive scale of destruction in Eastern Visayas after Typhoon Yolanda, a lot of money has been invested by various foreign governments and non-governmental organizations for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
According to DILG Regional Director Pedro Noval Jr, "any aid that is offered by aid providers is happily accepted, and we share everyone's wish to quickly distribute the boats to the fisher folks affected by the typhoon."
However, "we also want to assure not only the livelihood but also the safety of the beneficiaries and that we wanted to ensure that the boats we distribute to them are seaworthy, safe, and built according to the standards set by Marina and BFAR."
Noval, in his letter to DENR Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca on September 23 recommended that:
- DENR must inform the donor, DMCI, of this developments and request them to retrofit the boats to conform with the recommendations of Marina and BFAR.
- DENR must request the DMCI that subsequent donations of fishing boats must strictly conform to the standards set by Marina.
- DENR should store the boats properly. This must be done immediately.
The boats are piled up at the mini-forest of the PENRO in Leyte. They have been exposed to the elements and the peculiar conditions of a mini-forest from when they were first assembled up to this time.
While the boats are still waiting for retrofitting and eventual distribution, DENR should move them to a covered court or a gymnasium to limit their exposure to the weather and to stop further deterioration.
- DENR should also consider distributing the boats through BFAR or to the various NGOs operating in the region that are involved in uplifting the lives of fisherfolks.
Meanwhile, Sibbaluca gave his assurance that they will communicate with DMCI to retrofit the boats in order to conform with the standards set by Marina and BFAR.
As recommended by Sibbaluca, the provincial office has already started moving the boats to a place that will prevent them from further deteriorating and too much exposure to the weather. – Rappler.com