While the M/V Luta has arrived and is visiting for the first time the islands of the Commonwealth, it is not yet clear when she will start her operations to transport cargo and passengers.
Asked when the ship will start operations, owner Abelina Mendiola said they are still waiting for another inspection.
“We’re waiting on a [U.S.] Coast Guard inspection out of Guam,” Mendiola said.
It is not yet clear also who will be the ship’s agent.
According to Commonwealth Ports Authority executive director MaryAnn Lizama, there are another aspect of requirements based on federal regulations for M/V Luta to bring passengers and that Luta Mermaid LLC will still need to look into it.
“For passengers, I know that there is another aspect of requirements based on the U.S Coast Guard regulations. That’s something that the owners and the operators will have to look into,” Lizama said.
CPA is not yet into discussion regarding passengers
“Until such time that their permits are set, then we’ll be able to work with the owners as well as vessel cabin and crew,” Lizama said.
For cargo, on the other hand, M/V Luta is ready, according to Lizama. The port on Rota, where the ship will be home-ported is also all set.
“Cargo, yes we’re pretty much ready for the cargo aspect. We were there in Rota; we were able to see her dock side. There are some cosmetic, structural things that we need to do at the port and that’s pretty much for every vessel that calls port to Rota,” Lizama said.
Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog has mentioned that certifications and regulations from various agencies had to be secured and followed, thus causing delays to the ship’s arrival.
For one, he said a boom crane as well as the boom crane mount had to be ordered from two separate states so as to satisfy specifications.
M/V Luta was also mandated to have a rescue boat.
“There’s a lot of going around to ensure that they meet the necessary specification,” Hocog said.
“It’s not an easy task to meet especially when M/V Luta is supposed to carry passengers. They have to strip again all of what is in there already that has been done and meet the requirements of the Coast Guard to ensure that when carrying passengers, their safety is foremost,” he added.
The M/V Luta was said to be able to carry about 20 passengers and 30 20-foot cargo containers.