DOTr launches information awareness campaign on rights of sea passengers
CEBU CITY — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) launched Thursday morning (September 5) an information awareness campaign on sea passengers.
Aside from DOTr, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard also spearheaded the activity.
Nanette Villamor Dinopol, Marina deputy administrator for operations, said they purposely held the activity at the Pier 3 passenger terminal so that those waiting for their trips would be made aware that they too, had rights as sea passengers.
The info awareness campaign was first held on April 11 in Batangas. The Mindanao leg will be in October.
The Circular #2018-07 issued by Marina to all owners and operators of inter-island liner ships and all concerned cover guidelines on the Rights of Sea Passengers in cases of cancelled, delayed, and/or uncompleted voyages.
In cases of cancelled voyages, passengers have the right to information, right to refund, right to ticket revalidation, right to amenities and right to compensation.
Based on Marina Circular #2018-07, the operator has to publicly announce the voyage cancelation, its cause and the new sailing schedule, within 30 minutes after receiving the information.
The passengers have the right to request for refund at their option within seven calendar days from the voyage cancellation.
The passengers also have the option to have their tickets revalidated for re-scheduled trips at no additional cost to the passengers and would be given priority over walk-in clients.
On the other hand, the operator is required to provide passengers with amenities that include snacks or meals, free access to first aid/relief medicine and free access to communication facilities or services when necessary while they await for the re-scheduled voyage.
The right to compensation is an alternative to providing accommodation or whenever it is not practicable.
The operator may offer corresponding compensation in an amount equivalent to the prevailing market price of a decent, clean accommodation to a maximum of three nights per passenger.
Alexander Cohon, who represented the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association, said they were willing to follow the Marina guidelines.
Some small boat operators also raised their concerns over the recently issued guideline of having only 75 percent of their authorized passenger capacity.
Dinopol explained that recent regulations, including the ban on the use of a tarpaulin as roofing for the boats, was issued to ensure that when the boat would capsize the passengers would not be trapped under the boat hull.
She encouraged all those concerned to prioritize the safety of their passengers./dbs
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