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Marcos orders alignment of Philippine maritime practices with global standards

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Marcos orders alignment of Philippine maritime practices with global standards
This file photo shows a Filipino crew on the bridge of a ship.
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MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued a directive to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to standardize its maritime practices and bring them in line with global standards.

Marcos said the country’s rules and operations in the maritime industry have become “obsolete because of lack of a unified system governing the industry.”

“These are all promotion, modernization but let us standardize first our systems and at the same time we undertake this like promotion of highly skilled Filipino maritime workforce,” Marcos said during a meeting with MARINA chief Marina Malaluan on the proposed Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028, the government's roadmap to improving maritime practices.

“In terms of shipbuilding and ship repair, we haven’t done much to promote that,” the president added.

Since 2006, the EU has consistently flagged the Philippines' compliance with international standards for maritime workers. This came to head in 2021 when the European Commission warned that it would withdraw its recognition of Filipino seafarers' certificates unless Philippine authorities took serious measures.

In 2023, the European Commission decided to continue honoring the certificates issued by the Philippines to Filipino seafarers even as it has previously found that seafarer training in the country was deficient. This directive saved the jobs of approximately 50,000 Filipino seafers in EU-flag vessels. 

Since then, MARINA and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) vowed to course-correct the quality of seafarer training in the country. CHED also kept its five-year moratorium on new maritime programs amid its ongoing review of all maritime schools to evaluate their compliance with international standards.

The Philippines sends out the most number of seafarers globally compared to any other country, according to a 2021 report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

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