Marina revises rules to grant Pioneer Status, incentives

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NEW and existing domestic shipowners/operators who will introduce International Association of Classification Societies (IACS)-classed brand-new or newly constructed ships in their respective authorized or applied routes will be granted “Pioneer Status” entitling them to some tax incentives, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) announced.

This is under Marina’s recently published Memorandum Circular DS-2021-03 “Revised Rules and Regulations in the Grant of Pioneer Status Under EO 909” to provide safer sea transport and improved shipping services.

This revised circular applies to all domestic shipowners or operators that intend to invest in RoPax, roll-on-roll-off, cargo, and other ships that have been designed and constructed/maintained by the IACS.

For a ship to be granted Pioneer Status, it must be IACS class maintained for the entire duration of its six years of route protection and must possess an existing Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).

Domestic shipowners/operators can file their applications for the “Pioneer Status” at any of the Marina regional offices where the ship’s existing CPC is issued.


Domestic ships that have been granted to operate Pioneer Status routes shall be entitled to incentives.

One of these incentives is non-transferrable route protection valid for six years. Additionally, these ships will also be charged only 50 percent of the regular fees in all applications, renewals of ship documents, licenses, certificates and permits, and annual tonnage fee for six years.

Moreover, ships granted Pioneer Status will also be given priority in the issuance of CPCs in the routes they propose to operate.


To qualify for the Pioneer Status, a ship must be classed by an IACS, be a newly constructed ship built abroad or in a Marina-licensed shipyard, and must be fully manned by qualified Filipino officers and crew.

Additionally, the ship’s operator must be a Marina-accredited maritime entity and an existing CPC grantee. Requirements of application include a Letter of Intent, an IACS-Classed Certificate, a Builder’s Certificate, and proof of payment for the processing fee per ship.

In its post, Marina said the implementation of this circular is one step towards the agency’s efforts in upholding the Maritime Industry Development Plan, specifically addressing Program 1 or the “Upgrading of Domestic Shipping in Support of the Philippine Nautical Highway Development.”

“In line with this, Marina assures stakeholders and the riding public that it will continue to explore more avenues for the modernization and upgrading of the existing domestic merchant fleet,” Marina said. (KOC WITH PR)

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