Enhancing Safety and Energy Efficiency of Domestic Passenger Ships in the Philippines

The World Maritime University (WMU) is partnering to enhance the safety and energy efficiency of domestic ferry operations in the Philippines as part of a year-long project funded by the World Bank Group (WBG), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP). The project kicked off with a virtual meeting in December 2021 for multiple stakeholders involved in the operation and certification of the country’s shipping and ferry services.   

The goal of the project is to identify gaps and map out the way forward for the safety, energy efficiency and decarbonization of domestic passenger ships in the Philippines. The project team includes experts from WMU, the University of Strathclyde, and national stakeholders from the Philippines alongside national consultants - coordinated by the Philippines Marine Industry Authority (MARINA). 

The Philippines relies heavily on domestic shipping for inter-linking its 7,641 islands and a population of more than a hundred million. Shipping plays an important role in the Philippines economy in terms of tourism and logistics and more than 80% of Filipinos travel by ferries with passenger shipping being one of the most important transport modes. The project supports the country’s climate commitments through the reduction of GHG emissions from its domestic fleet. In terms of safety, the study will utilize IMO’s Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) methodology.   

The project launch brought together some 90 participants from WBG, IFC, MARINA, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Port Authority, Department of Transport, Department of Energy, Department of Natural Resources, national and international consultants, private stakeholders from domestic ferry operators, domestic shipyards and international classification societies authorized to survey and inspect domestic ferries. It is anticipated that the pilot project will provide a blueprint to be expanded to other regions in future where domestic ferry operations play a crucial role in the movement of people and goods.

Participation in the project supports WMU’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDGs 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 17. The maritime research portfolio of WMU, in particular the expertise in Maritime Safety and Maritime Energy Management research priority areas, directly supports the far-reaching and impactful goals of this milestone project. WMU staff involved in the project include Professor Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs, Professor Aykut Olcer, Assistant Professor Anish Hebbar, and researchers Dr Serdar Yildiz, and Captain Seyedvahid Vakili.

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