The “Maria Gloria” was the first steel-hulled ROPAX (RORO-Passenger ship) of Batangas-based Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc. (MSLI). She arrived on September 1994 and she first sailed the Batangas-Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro route. Before she came, Montenegro Lines was a plain operator of batel boats plying the same Abra de Ilog route. When I first saw “Maria Gloria” when she was newly-arrived, I never thought that one day Montenegro Lines will have the most number of ferries in the Philippines.
In Japan, “Maria Gloria” was known as the “Tenyo Maru” of Shimabara Tetsudo K.K. with the IMO Number 6726668. She was built by Kanda Shipbuilding Co. in their Kure shipyard and she was completed in July of 1967. She had a Length Over-all (LOA) of 43.0 meters, a Length Between Perpendiculars (LBP or LPP) of 39.5 meters and a Beam or Breadth of 11.0 meters. In Japan, she had a GRT of 356 tons. She had a raked stem with ramp and a transom stern with ramp. Her rated Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) is 140 tons. “Tenyo Maru is powered by twin 700-horsepower Daihatsu marine diesel engines for a total of 1,400 horsepower which gave her a service speed of 11.5 knots when new.
When she came to the Philippines, her first listed owner was Jovanlyn Trading & General Merchandise of Frisco, Quezon City, an obscure company. According to Miramar Ship Index, she passed on to Montenegro Lines in 2000 (was she paid in installment?). In the Philippines, her Call Sign was DUE 2090 and her new Gross Tonnage is 267 nominal tons with a Net Tonnage (NT) of 104 tons. She has a passenger capacity of 413 persons, all in sitting accommodations in two classes, Economy and the air-conditioned Tourist. In the country, she sails as a short-distance ferry but she is bigger than the Basic, Short-Distance Ferry-RORO classification of the Philippine Ship Spotters Society (PSSS) as she has 1.5 decks and a length of over 40 meters. She has a capacity of about 110 lane-meters of rolling cargo in three lanes which is good for up to 12 buses or trucks as long as they are not the stretched version. However, her scantling is not full but she has a box in the bow, an additional protection for rough waves and weather.
Built in 1967, “Maria Gloria” will turn 48 years old this year (2015) and she is actually one of the oldest ferries now in the Philippines (the aesthetics of her superstructure shows the lines of her era but, hey, it is not bad or really antique-looking). Her hull still looks good and she still have very reliable engines, a testament to the good quality of maintenance usually employed by her company Montenegro Lines (one can’t find a sickly ship in their fleet). Her usual route is still the same route she plied more than twenty years ago, the Batangas-Abra de Ilog route although at times she is rotated to other routes according to the Montenegro Lines policy of regularly shuffling ship route assignments.
With her condition and the record in caring for their ships of her company, I expect many more years of successful and fruitful sailing for her.
More Maria Gloria photos by Raymond Lapus: CLICK HERE