THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has called on shipowners to prioritize the transport of relief and rehabilitation goods in areas hit by Typhoon Odette.

Marina Administrator Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad tasked the agency's regional directors to coordinate with shipowners whose vessels were unaffected by the typhoon to resume operations and prioritize the carriage of relief operations. He also directed the agency's safety engineers to immediately assess the seaworthiness of vessels in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands and that their Certificates of Public Convenience, Special Permit, or other authority to operate are valid.

Marina Administrator VADM Robert Empedrad FILE PHOTO
Marina Administrator VADM Robert Empedrad FILE PHOTO
This development immediately came after President Rodrigo Duterte's order to mobilize all government assets to expedite the delivery of relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by Typhoon Odette.

He also committed to releasing around 2 billion pesos in funds to typhoon-hit provinces to help in recovery efforts.

Odette (international name: Rai) is recorded as one of the deadliest typhoons to have struck the Philippines with over 208 casualties and a trail of destruction in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, and Surigao del Norte, including the popular Siargao surfing destination, and Dinagat Islands. It has displaced nearly 490,000 people before it moved toward the South China Sea over the weekend.