80,000 Pinoy seafarers’ jobs safe — MARINA

Jobs secured The Maritime Industry Authority has announced it is addressing the concern of European Maritime Safety Agency to avert the possible loss of jobs of some 80,000 Filipino seafarers onboard European ships. ROY PELOVELLO

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has completed the submission of its proofs of compliance with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in improving maritime education, training and certification system of Filipino seafarers.

Earlier, warnings had been raised 80,000 Filipino sailors aboard European ships may lose their jobs because the Philippines still hasn’t complied with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), implemented by the EMSA.

In a statement, MARINA said before 31 October 2018, it officially transmitted the remaining proof of corrective actions the Philippines has implemented in addressing the findings noted in the European Commission Assessment Report on the country’s maritime education, training and certification system conducted in March 2017.

The corrective actions include amended legislation, inter-agency cooperation initiatives and good governance measures on the administration of maritime education and training programs, assessment of seafarer competence and the issuance of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarer’s (STCW) certificates.

Part of the major actions taken by the MARINA was the extensive review and revision of seven existing national legislation and the development of six training course packages, all ready for implementation.

The MARINA also cited its active collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Health (DoH), and Philippine Coast Guard, specifically in reviewing the existing policies, standards and guidelines governing the Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering programs, as well as in evaluating compliance of maritime higher educational institutions on trainings and courses offered to aspiring Filipino mariners.

Moreover, the MARINA highlighted in its submission Executive Order 63, series of 2018 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations as a manifestation of the government’s resolve to strengthen its authority as the single maritime administration.

MARINA Officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. said he is confident the agency’s proactive approach in responding to the challenges on the country’s maritime sector will ensure continuous recognition of STCW certificates of Filipino marine officers and country’s provision of leadership to EU-flagged vessels.

“This is how confident, serious and committed we are in dealing with the EMSA issue. Failure is not in our options,” Vingson said.

Meanwhile, MARINA also said the Philippines has intensified its efforts to prepare for the Independent Evaluation on the country’s implementation of the STCW Convention by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The agency said this would assure the country will remain in the IMO white list, which means that Filipino seafarers and Philippine-registered ships trading international waters are assured of seamless movement from one port to another.

MARINA OIC Vice Admiral Vingson has already constituted a Task Force on STCW Mandatory Independent Evaluation which will be responsible for the conduct of an Internal Audit / Self-Assessment on Philippine compliance before the actual conduct of the said Independent Evaluation between January to March in 2019.

The Philippines intends to submit its compliance report with the STCW Convention to the IMO on or before September 2019.

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