Philippine maritime operations have been plaguing the news and Western media for the longest time now. Since the whole West Philippine Sea debacle involving the US and China, as well as the International Criminal Court, all eyes are set in Asia as we Filipinos continue to deal with our maritime rights. Just a few months back, a bunch of Filipino fishermen were bullied off by giant Chinese vessels and ships off our own waters and have been taunting local fishermen for months now despite the Philippines winning the tribunal on the West Philippine Sea issue years back.
With the Duterte administration allowing the Chinese to fish in our waters and basically claim our territorial seas, the challenge rises for maritime assertion. Thus, the very first Filipino-made ship called MV Isla Simara was built locally by Filipino shipbuilders themselves. The boat was named after one of Romblon’s islands and has quite an impressive roster of features which can occupy 400 passengers. It is also the first in the country that has a Marine Evacuation System-a slide or escape chute which will enable passengers on board can also evacuate into life rafts.
The Pinoy RoRo or roll-on/roll-off passenger ship was built by Josefa Slipways Incorporated and Shotgun Ships Corporation. Its total length is 72 meters, breadth of 16 meters, and 16 rally cargoes. According to When In Manila, there’s also a top-notch evacuation system designed to evacuate the maximum number of people safely and efficiently with built-in life-saving apparatuses.
The lines have been blurred in the last year and a half when it comes to how our country treats our ships and boats in our own waters. With foreign invaders constantly taunting us in the body of water that’s rightfully and legally ours, the quest for establishing ourselves at sea intensifies and is utmost necessary at this day and age. MV Isla Simara is a symbol of hope and strength that brings the Filipino spirit well and alive; that no matter how much other countries as big as China bully us into surrender, there will always be room to fight for what is rightfully ours and show what we have despite being a third world nation.