Senate okays bill seeking to modernize naval architecture

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Aug. 17 (PNA) – Voting 17-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading on Monday a bill seeking to regulate and modernize the practice of naval architecture in the country.

Under Senate Bill No. 2482, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the bill sought to replace the five-decade-old law crafted in 1965.

”The new measure would modernize the practice of naval architecture by updating and incorporating innovations to the existing law,” Trillanes, chairman of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganizations and Professional Reorganization, said.

Based on data released by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in 2013, the Philippines has surpassed its European counterparts in shipbuilding and was ranked as the fifth’s world’s largest shipbuilding country after China, Japan, Korea and Brazil.

“Our position of influence in the global maritime industry has started to encompass the shipbuilding sector. The economic upswing in this sector rests on the appeal of our naval architects, who are highly valued for their proven competence and remarkable diligence,” Trillanes said.

To secure the country’s position as a leading global maritime nation, he said the proposed law seeks to introduce international practices and standards in the naval architect profession to keep it at par with other countries.

According to MARINA, the Philippines has 121 licensed shipyards, eight facilities for the construction and repair of big ships and 14 other shipyards for medium-sized ships and 99 yards to service smaller ships.

“The enactment of this bill into law will give our talented and competent professional naval architects the boost they need to provide a new regulatory framework which is attuned to the latest international practices and standards,” Trillanes said.

Under the proposed law, naval architecture professional subjects would be included in engineering schools recognized and accredited by the government.

It would also enhance the profession of naval architecture by requiring continuing professional development and research.

Once enacted into law, Trillanes said, construction, conversion or alteration of any floating vessel or equipment for any work or project to be done in the country should be designed or planned by a registered naval architect.

Likewise, a shipyard would be prohibited to operate unless it has contracted the services of a registered naval architect for the new building, conversion, alteration or repair of any floating vessel or equipment.

Teachers are also prohibited from teaching professional subject in naval architecture course unless he or she is a duly registered architect with the Board and Commission, according to the bill.

Violators will be slapped with a fine of not less than PhP 50,000 but not more than PhP 1 million or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than three years, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, the bill added. (PNA)