By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio
CALBAYOG CITY – The first fastcraft service in Samar province was inaugurated Wednesday.
The VS Grand Ferries Corporation’s MV Sea Cat will have two daily trips between Calbayog and Cebu City.
The Sea Cat is a 300-seater, 30.5-meter catamaran built in Balamban, Cebu, by the Australian Aluminum Company.
It is powered by two 970-kilowatt engines that are capable of pushing the Sea Cat to a speed of 25 knots.
The vessel can make the 120-nautical mile voyage in just five hours. An ordinary boat takes 12 hours to make the trip.
The fastcraft operator, Von Zosa, also owns a fleet of 100 passenger vans in Leyte and Samar.
“The fastcraft is equipped with passenger amenities and modern technology for sea navigation, built to comply with the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) standards, which is also one of the firsts in Samar,” Zosa said.
The Sea Cat leaves Calbayog at 8 a.m. for Cebu Port, and leaves at 2 p.m. for the return trip that arrives in Calbayog at 7 p.m.
The fare is P1,300.
Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTR) Asst. Sec Fernando Perez said the new fastcraft service will make sea travel more convenient and boost the province’s trade and industry.
“We must be constantly reminded that the lack of transportation is a stumbling block to growth and development. This is how we should work as a nation, which is very much needed in order to lead our country towards genuine and inclusive growth and development,” Perez said.
“We in the DOTR are hoping that these first steps will be sustained and followed by other meaningful partnerships between the government and private sector,” he added.
Samar 1st District Cong. Edgar Sarmiento and Calbayog Mayor Ronald Aquino who were at the inauguration expressed support for the newest fastcraft service.