Starlite Ferries Corp. launched its biggest and brand new Roll On-Roll Off (RORO) vessel, the M/V Starlite Venus, at the BREDCO Port in Bacolod City which is now plying the Batangas-Iloilo-Bacolod-Batangas routes.
Starlite Ferries general manager Shane Anthony Arante said yesterday that they have launched this vessel despite the travel ban and restrictions due to the pandemic because they saw the urgent need of locally stranded individuals, authorized persons outside residence and returning overseas Filipino workers to have other options to travel directly to Iloilo and Bacolod, through a faster and convenient route.
With an overall length of 97.8 meters with 5,115 GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage), the vessel, worth P900 million, can accommodate about 688 passengers and 28 units of trucks and smaller vehicles, he said.
Arante said the M/V Starlite Venus is their biggest RORO vessel and is the only ship that offers different accommodation types, from reclining seats to economy and tourist bed bunks, as well as cabin and family rooms.
The vessel was constructed by Kegoya Dock and manned by Capt. Ariel Geralde from Japan to the Philippines, he said.
Arante said the new route will provide alternative transportation options for logistics companies and passengers from Panay and Negros to CALABARZON area.
“With this, we look forward to seeing an improved trade and commerce relationship between Western Visayas and South Luzon market,” he said.
Chelsea Logistics Corp. president and chief executive officer Chryss Alfonsus Damuy said it is the commitment of their company to be a long term partner to the economic development of Bacolod City, in partnership with BREDCO, and to support the modernization program of the government by bringing in newer ships.
Damuy also shared the sentiment of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who was represented by executive assistant George Zulueta at the launching, to provide job opportunities by hiring more locals. He also said they will study the possibility of servicing passengers from Bacolod to Boracay as suggested by Zulueta.
This is the 11th vessel of this kind and that they are expecting another one next year, he said.
“We are thankful that the local government of Bacolod City is supporting us in this endeavor. This shows that we can bounce back together faster despite this pandemic. This move is also a way of showing our support to the economic recovery of the country,” Damuy said.
They will also continue to invest in Bacolod to be able to support its economy, he added.
Zulueta said this is very timely because Bacolod is on the verge of economic recovery. Despite the challenges, the city is planning to proceed with its flagship projects in order to stimulate the economy and create job opportunities that will generate employment.*CGS