MARINA awaits MT Princess Empress owner's appeal before permit revocation becomes final

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — The shipowner of the sunken MT Princess Empress has yet to appeal the revocation of its Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) as it is not yet final and executory, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said on Friday.

"The decision was issued by MARINA-NCR on May 11, 2023, which means it has yet to become final and executory," MARINA Legal Services Director Sharon Aledo told reporters in an online briefing. "Our procedural rules, the MARINA Revised Rules of Practice and Procedure, provide the period for the respondent to file an appeal."

"We'll wait for a period of 15 days from the issuance of the decision, wherein the respondent can file an appeal before it comes final and executory," she added.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday announced the decision against RDC Reield Marine Services Inc.

The DOTr said in a statement that the revocation of the CPC, an authorization to operate a vessel, was contained in a May 11 resolution, based on the findings that the company operated MT Princess Empress without authority.

Reporters pressed Aledo for specific details of the decision but the MARINA official said the 15-day period must lapse first.

Once the revocation becomes final, RDC will not be authorized to operate its remaining fleet of two tanker vessels and a passenger ship, Aledo said. The company will be imposed a one-time maximum fine of ₱100,000.

MARINA previously issued two cease-and-desist orders against RDC.

Generally, shipowners can still apply for a fresh CPC but in the case of RDC, Aledo said MARINA is "already aware of what happened and that would be taken into consideration."

"To be honest, we do not expect that a new CPC will be applied for by RDC or that would be processed and issued even in the future," she added.

MT Princess Empress was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank in the waters off Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28 — affecting approximately 41,000 families and the livelihood of 24,000 fisherfolk.

In April, MARINA said it was preparing to file administrative charges against RDC.

The Department of Justice previously said it is investigating the Philippine Coast Guard and MARINA for allowing the sunken oil tanker to sail without a permit.