SuperFerry resumes cargo, passenger operations

Posted at 11/24/2011 8:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Shipping firm SuperFerry said it has resumed operations after serving a brief suspension imposed by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) over the weekend.

Superferry officials said “the undue haste and arbitrariness of the suspension” of the entire fleet of the country’s largest shipping lines led to substantial losses.

“To make matters worse, large volume shippers have threatened to pull out booked cargoes as questions linger on the capability of the shipping company to deliver its time-sensitive shipment to customers, during the period of suspension,” the company said in a statement.

The passenger business was also affected as thousands demanded refunds. Schedules of group travelers were disrupted as a result of the 26-hour service interruption arising from an alleged incident with local fishermen off Sarangani province.

Superferry claimed that an unlit and unpowered banca reportedly collided with a Superferry vessel, which led to the suspension of the entire fleet of the company.

“While the earlier investigation clearly [placed the fault on] the banca, the Superferry management has questioned the hastily enforced suspension order on the entire fleet, an unjust act deemed unfriendly to business,” the company said.

“The vessels were eventually allowed to sail after an exhaustive safety audit by Marina revealed that ‘the fleet had no negative findings and was found to be fully compliant with national and international safety management systems’.”

Sulficio Tagud Jr., chief executive officer of the combined company of Negros Navigation and Aboitiz Transport System, said the result of the Marina audit only proved that safety of the vessels was not a concern.

“The allegation did not merit suspension of the entire fleet,” Tagud said.

The temporary grounding included five SuperFerry vessels and three Cebu Ferries, all of which were not involved in the Sarangani Bay incident.