Sea marshalls on Kudat-Palawan ferry

KOTA KINABALU: Sea marshalls will be stationed on the first roll-on-roll-off ferry service between Kudat and Palawan, Philippines when it officially begins its maiden voyage before the Yultide holidays, the company operating the service disclosed.

General manager of Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corporation (APFC), Segundo C. Mentoya Jr, said the sea marshalls are to ensure the safety of every voyage.

He said APFC  is guided at all times by its core values such as focused, accountable, safety conscious, expectations and trendsetter.

“We will definitely operate our maiden voyage in December and  the exact date will only be announced to the public in December,” he said, adding the company assigned a catamaran type of multi-hauled ship consisting of two hulls for the new route.

Mentoya who visited the newly constructed ram at the Kudat port together with BIMP-EAGA Kudat Business Council (BEBC) vice-chairman James Ibrahim on Wednesday, said the ferry is designed to accommodate a maximum of 300 passengers and 40-50 vehicles plus cargo.

He said the travel time of the sea journey from Bululuyan Port to Kudat Port is six hours depending on sea weather condition.

“The vessel (Catamaran) has arguably become the best design for ferries because of speed, stability and large capacity which is powered by an 18-knot engine,” he said, adding that the vision  of APFC is to contribute to nation-building by being the industry leader and standard setter in the ferry transportation business.

He said the  operation of the much awaited Kudat-Palawan sea route complements the company’s mission to connect the Philippine islands and neighbouring countries by providing safe, fast  and convenient ferry transport system for passengers and cargo with international standards.

Asked on the fare of ferry  ticket, he said one-way trip will be tagged not more than RM250  and return trip ticket RM500. However the  fare has yet to be officially announced to the public.

“We will be setting up ticket counters in Kudat managed by our appointed marketing agent Borneo Fort Sdn Bhd,” he added.

Excited with the soft launching of the ferry service, he said  APFC is scheduled  to carry out daily voyages after the maiden voyage.

“We are targeting to launch our maiden voyage before December 25 to allow  Filipinos in Sabah to be with their love ones and relatives during Christmas and New Year celebrations. The maiden voyage is also meant for Malaysians to be able to spend their Yultide holidays in Palawan,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim described the latest developments  of the much awaited Kudat-Palawan ferry services as “a dream come true” beneficial both to the Filipinos and Malaysians, particularly Sabahans and businessmen.

“I am pleased with the announcement of the maiden voyage as announced  by Mr Mentoya and personally assure that myself and Kudat BEBC will do its utmost to ensure the success of this much awaited business adventure undertaken by APFC and the Palawan Provincial  Government  spearheaded by Governor Jose C. Alvarez,” he said.

Ibrahim suggested that the point of origin of the voyage should be Kudat Port for safety and convenience of Malaysians and other foreign tourists, including Filipino passengers.

“I personally believe that starting the six-hour sea journey at 7am in Kudat will allow the passengers to  arrive Bululuyan Port early afternoon. This will allow passengers to see and appreciate the beautiful sceneries along the way while making  the land trip to Puerto Princesa, capital city of Palawan,” he said, noting that Bululuyan village and adjucent areas presently do not have enough accommodation facilities to cater the needs of the visitors.

On the contrary, Ibrahim said Kudat do not foresee problems in providing accommodation to Palawan-bound passengers when they arrive In the district early evening.

“We have sufficient facilities in Kudat for our visitors to enjoy upon arrival … They can conveniently enjoy the night here before proceeding their journey to Kota Kinabalu City and other parts in Sabah the following day,” he stressed, adding that he hoped APFC and  the Palawan government will consider the proposal.

Earlier, Mentoya and  his wife Marie and Ibrahim paid a courtesy call to Kudat District Officer Sapdin Ibrahim.

During the visit, the general manager briefed Sapdin on the operational aspects of the ferry service and the company’s future plans.

The Kudat district officer  has also expressed his appreciation to the top officials and men and women of APFC for choosing Kudat as destination for the ferry service.

Sapdin said the realisation of the Kudat-Palawan ferry service will in many ways help improve the economic activities in the district and will create a positive economic domino effect to the local populace and Sabah in general.

“I wish you and your company the best in this new endeavour and you can count us for our support,” Sapdin told Mentayo.

Meanwhile, Alvarez was earlier qouted as saying that the Kudat-Palawan connectivity  mega project is beneficial to both Sabahans and Palaweneos.

With the operation of the ferry service, he said Sabah visitors will be at liberty to bring their vehicles into Palawan for holiday or business purposes.

Alvarez said Palawan is a beautiful place to visit and its environment is conducive for business investments and expansion purposes.

“The Palaweneos as well as its elected politicians, government servants and businessmen are friendly and very helpful and accommodating. There are lots of business opportunities in Palawan and hope our neighbours in Sabah will take advantage of them,” the Governor stressed.

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