Philippines corrects course to meet global seafarer training standards

Philippines corrects course to meet global seafarer training standards
Filipino seafarers shows thumb up sign during the inaguarion of Seafarer center in Manila, 22 December 2006. Filippino seamen work on ships all over the world and the money they send back home is a major source of foreign exchnage in thie poverty-stricken country. AFP PHOTO/JOEL NITO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines said it has taken "corrective actions" after independent evaluators cited 15 areas of noncompliance to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention), along with 63 "observations."

This is aside from the 23 grievances the Philippines had after an audit by the European Maritime Safety Agency, which checks compliance with standards of the European Union.

According to Maritime Industry Authority Executive Director-in-charge Samuel Batalla, the Philipppines’ independent evaluation was conducted from March to April this year to "verify the country’s implementation of its quality standard systems" on top of checking on the country’s training and certification of seafarers.

Batalla said the Philippines was cited for its non-conformities in quality standards systems and implementation, the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments, and the implementation of education, training, and assessment standards.

"Within this month, Marina will be submitting a report on the corrective actions that have already been completed, including the corresponding documentary evidence so that will be the basis of independent evaluators in their evaluation this December to validate responses we will submit," Batalla said in mixed Filipino and English at the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs on Thursday,

Why is this important?

The independent evaluation is a requirement for parties part of the convention. Batalla said the independent evaluators will submit a verification report to the International Maritime Organization within six months.

This is crucial to the Philippines’ being listed under the "white list" of countries with seafarer employability as the IMO seeks to release a new list.

Should the Philippines be excluded from the list, this may impact the employment of over 600,000 Filipino seafarers around the world and subsequently, the global maritime industry. The UN Conference on Trade and Development had noted that the Philippines is the world’s top source of seafarers in 2021.

Marina also said "Philippine-flagged ships may be subjected to stringent port state inspections."

The Philippines last submitted reports in 2013 and 2017, but both were dismissed.

Batalla said the 2013 report failed to adapt amendments in the convention, while the 2017 report was considered incomplete. This makes the 2009 independent evaluation the country’s last report to the international body.

"Currently, the Philippines is still in the IMO list of STCW countries. However, we must successfully pass the independent evaluation to strengthen our compliance status," Batalla said.




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