By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Starlite Ferries started over the weekend its twice weekly services from Batangas City going to Bacolod City via Iloilo City.
The M/V Starlite Venus is a brand new roll-on/roll-off passenger vessel and was assigned for the twice weekly route.
Built in the Kegoya Dockyards in Japan, the P900-million vessel was specifically designed for use in Philippine waters and can carry 688 passengers and 22 buses or trucks.
The vessel joined the Starlite Ferries fleet in August of this year and was inaugurated last November 7 in Batangas City.
Accommodations range from reclining seats and open-air economy beds to air conditioned tourist beds and private cabins.
The ship has a restaurant, a convenience store, a smoking room, a clinic, and a chapel. It is also fast, capable of maintaining and cruising at a respectable speed of 16 knots or 30 kilometers per hour.
Shane Anthony Arante, General Manager of Starlite Ferries, said they are delighted to celebrate and present their biggest and newest vessel they have acquired since its incorporation 25 years ago.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Arante said the vessel’s addition to their fleet is a big help as they are currently in an urgent need of transporting locally stranded individuals, authorized persons outside of residence, and returning overseas Filipino workers.
The new route also provides an alternative transportation option for logistics companies and passengers coming from Western Visayas heading towards the CALABARZON area.
Arante also pointed out the new route also offers a better option as it would avoid the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, as well as traveling the long route via Mindoro.
The M/V Starlite Venus leaves Batangas bound for Iloilo and Bacolod every Thursday and Saturday, and will return to Batangas City every Friday and Sunday./DGB, WDJ