The consultation and assessment elements of a project to assist the Philippines to improve the safety and energy efficiency of its domestic ferry operations have concluded. A report with recommendations covering operational, regulatory, policy and modification solutions is expected to be released by the end of January 2023, marking the end of the project. 

World Bank Group (WBG), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and IMO funded the year-long project. It used IMO’s Formal Safety Assessment guidelines to assess domestic passenger ship safety and energy efficiency in the Philippines. 

As part of the programme’s assessment process, two field visits to the country took place. The first, in July 2022, was to verify the findings collected through a series of virtual interviews with stakeholders.  

The objective of the second field trip (14-18 November 2022) which enabled further feedback through more active consultation, was to validate the findings and recommended risk control options addressing the safety and energy efficiency of domestic passenger ships in the archipelago. 

During the week, IMO and its co-sponsors held discussions in Manila and Cebu, in-person and remotely, with agencies such as the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) plus various stakeholders from the private sector. The week’s activities culminated in a meeting with the Philippines’ Transportation Secretary, the Honorable Jaime Bautista, and his departmental officials. 

When the project’s report is published, it is expected to include short-, medium- and long-term follow-up actions potentially including training and capacity-building initiatives, as well as operational, regulatory and policy recommendations.  

It aims, too, to identify safe and green corridors where design and modification solutions can be tested. The aim is to collate more accurate data on cost, capacity and effectiveness, whilst also assessing the impact of any planned solutions on the country’s economy, the environment and on Philippine society. 

A pilot project is planned as a follow-up to this year’s work. It will focus on two sizes and types of ship and consider the safety and energy aspects of onshore facilities. 

The safety of domestic passenger ships is a long-standing issue which IMO has been addressing through greater intervention to assist Member States improve their performance. This project with the Philippines is a pilot initiative which may be considered for delivery to other Member States requiring similar assistance.