Promotion of PH as flag state for more vessels pushed | Global News

Promotion of PH as flag state for more vessels pushed

/ 02:26 PM October 12, 2023

cargo vessel

(AFP / file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is renowned for its skilled seafarers, who are now the backbone of the global maritime industry.

Senator Francis Tolentino, on Thursday said it’s about time that the Philippines becomes a “flag state” hub for international vessels, too.


The status of the Marshall Islands as a prominent “flag state” piqued the interest Tolentino, who led the hearing of the Senate’s Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones.


“Dapat magkaroon na din ang Philippines ng mga ganitong registration para agawin na natin sa iba; ang dami nating seaman eh, diba,” Tolentino said.

(The Philippines should have this kind of registry so we could replace other countries; we have so many seafarers, right?)

“Kung dito na sa Pilipinas ang registration, ang laki ng kikitain ng Pilipinas; tayo na ang magrerehistro ng mga barko,” he added.

(If the registration is done here in the Philippines, the country would earn much.)

Tolentino also said the Department of Transportation should “promote the Philippines as a flag registry destination.”

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is the third most represented flag in the world fleet, only behind Panama and Liberia, according to Capt. Leo Bolivar, Deputy Commissioner for the Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Marshall Islands.


Bolivar was invited to the Senate hearing, which also tackled the fatal collision between a Filipino fishing boat and commercial ship Pacific Anna — a crude oil tanker registered under the Marshall Islands — in the West Philippine Sea last October 2.

‘Legal obstacles’

Bolivar noted that Tolentino’s proposal is possible, but the country’s maritime laws could get in the way.

“It’s possible, because if a small country can do that, it’s just a matter of, you know, there’s a lot with the maritime legislation that will be holding us back,” Bolivar said.

“I’ve seen the maritime legislation of the Philippines compared to us, Marshall Islanders, there’s a lot of tweaking to be done, but it’s possible,” he added.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, however, also noted that the flag state carries the responsibility of regulating the ships under it.

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A flag state is mandated to collect taxes as well as conduct regular inspections and regulation of pollution levels of ships registered under them, according to US-based Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies.


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