ALON Passenger Terminal: Integrated Domestic Passenger Ferry Terminal in North Harbor

Monday, July 18, 2005

• Basic Problems in North Harbor •

Manila Bay’s North Harbor handles all incoming and outgoing domestic cargo and passenger ferries in Metro Manila. At present, all of the Ramos administration’s efforts seem to have been lost on the North Harbor in terms of infrastructure especially for passengers.

The safety of the traveling mass is being put at risk due to lack of security measures in the harbor. With the present economic condition, these people have no choice but to make do with what is inconveniently available. Inconvenience, threat to safety, these are but a few problems that arises from the absence of one single passenger terminal which will house all the proper facilities and security needed to avoid inconveniences and another tragedy.

With the current condition of the Philippine's second-hand fleet, passenger safety cannot be ensured if right from the loading port, confusion is at large. Lack of organization of passenger and baggage circulation and security due to the absence of a Major Terminal makes the ferry boat vulnerable to overloading and hazardous baggage, much to the passengers' detriment.

immediate problems:

The situation of the ferry passengers in the North Harbor is chaotic. The passengers bear all of the confusion in the system of the passenger ferries’ administration, seeing it as something that is already a part of traveling.

Basically, there is an absence of an integrated passenger ferry terminal in the Manila North Harbor that will contain all passenger-ferry related activities.

• there are several ferry companies that are using the North Harbor as their terminal, WG&A, Aboitizs, Negros Navigation, etc. Each company has its own area where it processes their respective passengers. The problem is that these areas are scattered with minimal signage, therefore making the processing of passengers and baggage very confusing.

• the ferry companies deal with their own passenger when it comes to their tickets and baggage. And with the usually not followed departure and arrival schedules of ferries, the absence of a single passenger terminal leaves the waiting passengers with no comfortable place to stay.

• there is a lack of security, personnel that monitor passenger areas which compromises passenger security and safety.

• inefficient boarding area security due to the absence of a terminal, makes the ferry boats vulnerable to overloading and baggage hazards which compromises passenger safety.

The safety problem is aggravated by the fact that the Philippines’ inter-island fleet is made up of second hand vessels acquired from other countries. With the Philippines’ passenger ferries’ age average of 9.31 years old *(Domestic & foreign Fleet Inventory in 1995 conducted by MARINA). Passenger safety can only be ensured if overloading is prevented and baggage handling is secured.

With respect to operational hazards, two major concerns were pointed out by International Maritime Organization (IMO): the perennial overloading of passengers, especially during peak seasons like Christmas and the start of school year; and the carriage and handling of dangerous baggage or cargoes. To respond to overloading, IMO suggested the building of passenger terminals to control embarkation of passengers in the main ports, particularly in North Harbor. As to handling of baggage or cargoes, an efficient system of inspecting dangerous goods was needed.


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