More sea crafts to sail through Zamboanga, Basilan routes

John Unson - Philstar.com
More sea crafts to sail through Zamboanga, Basilan routes
The fast crafts of the FastCat Shipping Lines are expected to sail through the Zamboanga-Basilan, Basilan-Zamboanga routes in February 2024.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY— Members of the business community in the Bangsamoro region are glad about the upcoming sailing of more vessels owned by a newcomer shipping firm that the government has permitted to operate in the Zamboanga-Basilan, Basilan-Zamboanga sea routes.

Basilan Gov. Hadjiman Salliman told reporters on Monday that Mark Saladino, the assistant vice president for operations of the FastCat Shipping Lines (FCSL), visited him last week in Isabela City and briefed him about the voyages of their passenger vessels that will start in about two months.

A ramp for FCSL fast crafts is now being constructed at the Isabela City port, according to Salliman.

Victor Moore Infante Ututalum, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry- Isabela City, said that the operation of the FCSL is good for the economy of Basilan, which has two cities, Isabela and Lamitan, and 11 municipalities.

“We are happy with this development. We are thankful to our leaders in the province for working this out,” Ututalum said.

For now, there are three shipping companies operating in the Zamboanga-Basilan, Basilan-Zamboanga routes. These are: the Aleson Shipping Lines Incorporated and the Montenegro Shipping Lines Incorporated that have roll-on, roll-off type passenger and cargo vessels, and the SRN Shipping Lines Incorporated that has fast crafts sailing from port to port in both areas.

Salliman said that his constituent mayors in the province were elated after learning that there would soon be more vessels to ferry people from Basilan to Zamboanga City and vice-versa.

The Cotabato City-based entrepreneur-lawyer Ronald Hallid Dimacisil Torres, chairman of the Bangsamoro Business Council, said that the additional passenger vessels that will serve the route will improve commerce and trade in Basilan.

“We in Cotabato City, the capital of the Bangsamoro region and members of our council in Basilan, which is part of the Bangsamoro region, are happy with that,” Torres said.


Bangsamoro Transportation and Communications Minister Paisalin Tago told reporters Monday that he will request the FCSL management to also operate in the Zamboanga-Lamitan City route.



Lamitan City in Basilan is also a seaport city and a major transshipment point for commercials goods coming in and agricultural products for shipment outside.



"We will initiate a brainstorming session with local officials in Lamitan City for us to plan out how we can work that out," Tago said, referring to his plan to prod the FCSL to operate in the city too.

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