Starlite Pioneer, the country’s first brand new roll-on, roll-off (roro) vessel, has made its maiden voyage after being officially launched last month at the Manila South Harbor.
The acquisition of the vessel, owned by Batangas City-based Starlite Ferries, was financed by a P300-million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as part of the bank’s efforts to promote safer, more convenient, and more affordable inter-island travel. Starlite Pioneer started plying the Mindoro-Caticlan route on December 20.
The 2,682 ton vessel was designed with the Filipino traveler in mind. It has three decks — a car deck that can carry 21 passenger buses; the air-conditioned main deck that can accommodate more than 400 passengers; and an open-air economy deck that can accommodate more than 300 passengers. Each deck is monitored via CCTV.
Starlite Pioneer has a speed of 13.5 knots, making it faster than most roro vessels that usually have a speed of 11 knots. It is also designed to safely navigate the country’s open sea routes and seasonal rough waters.
DBP will continue to support Starlite Ferries in its efforts to help propel the modernization of the country’s shipping industry by financing the acquisition of additional brand new roro vessels.