The MV Georich

The MV Georich of George & Peter Lines which was built in 1961 is the oldest sailing cruiser ferry of Cebu. In the Philippines she is only beaten by the MV Bounty Cruiser of Evenesser Shipping of Zamboanga in “seniority” as that ship was built in 1956. MV Georich is also one of the ships in the Philippines which the most number of consecutive sailing years here at 41 years total because this ship arrived here way back in 1975 when it was still the era of cruisers.

With that span of service, MV Georich has already sailed the a big portion of the routes served by George & Peter Lines now and before and that includes Maasin, Surigao, Zamboanga, Dumaguete and Dapitan but maybe not Iligan, Tubod, Plaridel, Oroquieta or Lazi as far as I know. As of now, she is serving as one of the Dumaguete and Dapitan ships of George & Peter Lines whose route network has already compacted.

MV Georich was one of the three ships acquired by George & Peter Lines from the shipping company Sado Kisen KK of Japan. All of those three were cruiser ships and MV Georich was the first to come followed by MV Jhufel in 1977 and then MV Geopeter in 1978, all in the time when cruisers were still the ships arriving in the Philippines from Japan. Incidentally. MV Jhufel is a true sister ship of MV Georich.

MV Georich was born as the MV Namiji Maru. She was built by the Niigata Engineering Company, Ltd. in the Niigata shipyard and she was completed in April of 1961. Her permanent ID was IMO 5246269.

The ships’s external measurements were 57.0 meters length over-all by 9.3 meters extreme breadth with a depth of 4.1 meters. She measured 806 tons in gross registered tonnage with 770 tons in deadweight tonnage. She was equipped with a single Niigata marine diesel engine producing 2,000 horsepower which gave her a sustained top speed when new of 16 knots and 17 knots in bursts. 

She has a boom ahead of the bridge which also served as the front mast and there is an amidship mast. The ship had two passenger decks in Japan but the scantling of the upper deck was not full. Above that is the accommodations for the crew and on another deck above that is the bridge. This steel-hulled ship had a high prow and she has a raked stem and a cruiser stern. The low center funnel is located right behind the bridge.

After 14 years of sailing in Japan she was sold to the Philippines. In the local refitting, full scantlings were made on her second and third decks and hence she became a three-passenger deck ship here. The observable forecastle here was actually a Japan original and a stylish sloping superstructure was made as if connecting the third passenger deck to the bridge. The derrick, the masts and the funnel remained unchanged.

Originally the ship was a three-class ship with Cabins, two Tourist sections and the ubiquitous open-air Economy class. These Economy sections are located where the additional scantlings were built. The third or uppermost passenger deck that did not exist before is an all-Economy deck. Aside from the original entrance at the middle of the first deck there are now two side passenger ramps on each side of the ship so the Economy section will have direct access.

Locally, her declared gross tonnage is 694 nominal tons which is lower than her gross register tonnage. The net tonnage is 187 nominal tons but that seems to be too low (there is an International Maritime Organization or IMO rule that the declared net tonnage should at least be 1/3 of the gross tonnage). Her local passenger capacity is 565 persons.

Right now, those Cabins are already gone and instead a new Tourist section was built in its place. The old Tourist is still around but it is no longer advertised as Tourist and Economy passengers can occupy it. I had a guided tour of the ship and was able to visit the engine room. It is still clean (and to think my tour was spontaneous and not arranged) and I looked around it with some awe. Seldom is one present with machinery that is over 50 years old and as a sentimental ship guy I can only thank George & Peter Lines is not that kind of owner which will easily send ships to the breakers. 

I was also able to visit the bridge of the ship. Bridge visits help one imagine what the navigators see and that even includes the cargo which is ahead of the bridge and how cargo is handled. The equipment looks a little dated, of course but I trust all were still in good working condition. The bridge was still tidy and uncluttered.

MV Georich is still a clean ship but obviously her better days were already past and more and more she has difficulty in matching the newer ships of the competition. However, she still has her own set of regular set of passengers and shippers. Her main problems now are lack of speed and reliability although it is not that often that she has engine troubles. Her lack of speed though is mitigated by the fact that ships for Dumaguete and Dapitan spend the night anyway in Dumaguete after arriving at midnight and all leave at the morning. And George & Peter Lines pioneered the direct Dapitan ship so how can they be called “slow”?

However, MV Georich is on her last chapter now especially since she is a cruiser ship. As it is she is even disadvantaged in the volume capacity. But as a sentimental guy, I can only wish that she continues to sail on and be a living example of the bygone cruiser era.