Atienza Interisland Ferries prepares for the return of domestic tourism

Engineer Silverio Atienza, President of Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. PHOTO BY CIRIEL VICOY MALANOG

As the country has eased pandemic-related restrictions, domestic trade player Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. is optimistic about taking advantage of the expected rebound in the local tourism industry, after unveiling its new ship in RoRo passengers MV October Lavender.

Atienza Interisland Ferries, under its chairman Silverio Atienza, is one of a growing number of local shipowners who have realized the windfall of having a modern fleet. So the company ordered a brand new vessel from local shipbuilder RAJ&T Marine Services Inc. but construction was delayed by the pandemic.

The MV October Lavender was only launched last December and delivered by the shipbuilder through its managing director Ric Tuliao. The brand new 1,200 gross tonnage RoPax was blessed in simple ceremonies on Thursday, May 6, 2022 in South Harbor, Manila.

“It will serve Manila to Coron, Palawan [route]”, Atienza said in an interview.

Although he admitted that his business was still operating at only 70% capacity compared to pre-pandemic levels, he is optimistic that the volume of cargo and passengers will soon increase as it does not initially cater. than local tourists.

“Mga pa lang local tourists,” Atienza said. Eventually, he expects to receive a significant number of foreign visitors as the MV October Lavender serves Coron, a popular tourist destination for local and foreign tourists.

Besides its picturesque limestone islands, Coron is also known for world-class wreck diving dating back to World War II, beautiful beaches, crystal-clear freshwater lakes and shallow coral reefs.

The 68-meter-long MV October Lavender can accommodate a maximum of 484 passengers with fully air-conditioned rooms and at least 16 trucks. As the company’s flagship, it is the largest of Atienza Interisland Ferries’ fleet of nine vessels.

In addition to the Manila-Coron route, the company’s passenger ships serve other more popular tourist destinations: Manila-El Nido; Palawan, Batangas-Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental; and West Lubang Mindoro.

Atienza said having new ships provides owners with several benefits.

“You can sleep well at night,” he said, indicating confidence that the ship will run smoothly. “You also have less maintenance costs,” he added. New vessels are required by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to be dry-docked only in their fifth year of operation, unlike second-hand vessels which are required to be dry-docked every every two years, according to Atienza.

During the blessing of the MV October Lavender, Atienza, who is also a naval architect, thanked the people who were instrumental in realizing his dream to start modernizing his company’s fleet, in particular Marina; shipbuilder RAJ & T Marine Services, owned by classmate Tuliao; and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which financed the vessel’s acquisition.

In addition to Tuliao, marina officials led by Region 4 Manager Emmanuel Carpio, DBP Vice President Jeane Adamos and friends from the industry witnessed the blessing of the MV October Lavender.

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