The completion of the maiden voyage of M/V Maria Estrella del Mar, a commercial passenger-cargo vessel, has paved the way for the resumption of the Antique province to Cuyo, Palawan route.
The vessel started its maiden voyage from its home port in Iloilo City on June 26 and passed by this capital town on June 27 before proceeding to Cuyo town in Palawan province.
“The vessel arrived safely today (June 29) in Cuyo, Palawan,” said Jose Edison Tondares, board secretary of the Maria Estrella del Mar Shipping, Inc. that operates the vessel and a subsidiary of the Saint Anthony’s College (SAC), in an interview.
He said they are hoping the revision of the Iloilo-Antique-Palawan maritime route can boost trade and tourism in these areas.
He said the M/V Maria Estrella del Mar is being established as a reliable commercial passenger-cargo ship.
“The ship welcomes passengers who simply like long travel and the solace of the sea,” Tondares said.
The vessel berths at the Milagrosa-J Shipping Port at Lapuz, La Paz, Iloilo City, departs Monday at 7 p.m. and arrives here at 6 a.m. the next day.
It leaves this town for Cuyo, Palawan 9 p.m. on Wednesday and arrives the next day at 6 a.m.
From Cuyo, it travels directly to Iloilo City at 6 p.m. on Friday and arrives the following day at 8 a.m.
In addition to catering to passengers and cargoes, the vessel will also host the maritime on-board training program and navigational trips, and shipboard familiarization.
“SAC also aims to have the vessel complement its Bachelor of Science Marine Transportation and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering programs with an actual sailing commercial ship that could later serve as a maritime laboratory extension of the school,” Tondares said.
The maritime route is also expected to “help ease the damaging stress brought upon by the heavy trucking on the mountain highway between Antique and Iloilo,” Tondares said.
The vessel Romblon Bay used to transport passengers from Metro Manila to Antique to Cuyo but stopped in the 1980s for lack of passengers when a roll-on roll-off started to operate from Metro Manila directly to Palawan. (PNA)