PH SEAMEN SEE LIFELINE FROM EU

Thousands of ranking Filipino seafarers abroad may yet secure a lifeline from the European Union. The EU maritime safety agency is set to conduct a follow-on inspection in October this year to check on Filipino officers serving aboard European vessels—whether they meet stringent international seafaring standards, according to a statement issued by the agency on Friday. But early indications point to positives efforts by the Philippines to meet requirements of the International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). About 14,500 Filipino officers serving abroad may be affected by the EU’s decision, according to Maximo Mejia Jr., administrator of the country’s Maritime Industry Authority. In the statement, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport cited a presentation to EU member states last April 23, where it noted an improvement in the overall assessment of the Philippine maritime education, training and certification system.READ MORE...

ALSO: PH averts ban of Pinoy seafarers in European ships

The Philippines successfully avoided a ban of Filipino maritime officers in European Union-flagged ships after the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) reported that the country made efforts to bring its maritime education, training and certification system in line with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The EU Delegation to the Philippines announced that the overall assessment, recently presented to EU member-states, was based on the inspection reports of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the follow-up measures that the Philippine authorities have put in place to address deficiencies identified. The efforts were supported by several EU member-states which provided technical assistance to the Philippine authorities. Based on the report, there are still concerns and the Philippine authorities need to demonstrate that the audit plans in place are actually being carried out and that they have all the necessary technical qualified human resources to monitor the maritime education and training institutions operating in the country.


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PH seamen see lifeline from EU; But Europeans still concerned about local training standards


A prospective applicant scans job opportunities at a recruiting booth at the seafarers park in Manila. Thousands of ranking Filipino seafarers abroad may yet secure a lifeline from the European Union as the EU maritime safety agency is set to conduct a follow-on inspection in October this year to check on Filipino officers serving aboard European vessels—whether they meet stringent international seafaring standards, according to a statement issued by the agency on Friday. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, MAY 5, 2014 (INQUIRER)  By Miguel R. Camus - Thousands of ranking Filipino seafarers abroad may yet secure a lifeline from the European Union.

The EU maritime safety agency is set to conduct a follow-on inspection in October this year to check on Filipino officers serving aboard European vessels—whether they meet stringent international seafaring standards, according to a statement issued by the agency on Friday.

But early indications point to positives efforts by the Philippines to meet requirements of the International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

About 14,500 Filipino officers serving abroad may be affected by the EU’s decision, according to Maximo Mejia Jr., administrator of the country’s Maritime Industry Authority.

In the statement, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport cited a presentation to EU member states last April 23, where it noted an improvement in the overall assessment of the Philippine maritime education, training and certification system.

This was based on the inspection reports of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the follow-up measures that the Philippine authorities had put in place to address identified problems, the directorate added.

“It appears that the Philippine authorities have made appreciated efforts to bring their system in line with the requirements of the (SCTW),” according to the statement, which quoted part of the report.

“However, there are still concerns, and the Philippine authorities need to demonstrate that the audit plans in place are actually being carried out, and that they have all the necessary technical qualified human resources to monitor the numerous maritime education and training institutions operating in the Philippines.”

The EU has requested Philippine authorities to provide by the end of July the necessary evidence to demonstrate that all outstanding deficiencies have been resolved and that they have fully implemented the requirements of the STCW convention.

Failure to resolve any remaining issue may result in the loss of EU recognition, the directorate warned.

“The EU has long recognized the Philippines as an important maritime nation whose many seafarers on European vessels are much appreciated,” EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said in the statement.

“Meanwhile, recent events continue to remind us of the importance of ensuring high standards for the officials at the helm of our vessels in the interest of the safety of passengers, seafarers, merchandise and the maritime industry as a whole,” he added.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya met with EU representatives, including EU vice president and transport commissioner Siim Kallas, to discuss how a blacklist of Filipino seamen could be avoided.

A Philippine blacklist would affect the jobs of thousands of Filipino officers serving aboard European vessels.
The possibility of blacklisting Filipino officers was raised following an Emsa audit in October last year. It reportedly uncovered deficiencies on the part of the local Maritime Industry Authority when it came to ensuring compliance with the STCW.

The European Union has invited Philippine authorities to consider bringing the matter to the attention of the International Maritime Organization, as well as seeking further technical assistance from the international community as has been done in the past.

FROM MANILA BBULLETIN

PH averts ban of Pinoy seafarers in European ships Manila BulletinManila Bulletin – 9 hours ago


PINOY SEAFARERS

The Philippines successfully avoided a ban of Filipino maritime officers in European Union-flagged ships after the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) reported that the country made efforts to bring its maritime education, training and certification system in line with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

The EU Delegation to the Philippines announced that the overall assessment, recently presented to EU member-states, was based on the inspection reports of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the follow-up measures that the Philippine authorities have put in place to address deficiencies identified. The efforts were supported by several EU member-states which provided technical assistance to the Philippine authorities.

Based on the report, there are still concerns and the Philippine authorities need to demonstrate that the audit plans in place are actually being carried out and that they have all the necessary technical qualified human resources to monitor the maritime education and training institutions operating in the country.

The EU requested Philippine authorities to provide by end of July 2014 the evidence to demonstrate that all outstanding deficiencies have been resolved and that they have fully implemented the requirements of the STCW convention. Failure to resolve any remaining issue may result in the loss of EU recognition.

Relatedly, in Berlin, Germany, some 80,000 Filipino seafarers who risk losing their jobs and being banned from working at EU-registered vessels may heave a sigh of relief after the EU took note of the Philippines’ signing of a law creating a single and central maritime administration to keep an eye on the training and certification of Filipino seamen.

The EMSA report showed that they have taken positive note of the March 13 signing of Republic Act 10635, to strengthen the stature of the country’s Filipino seafarers in the global seafaring industry.

R.A. 10635 mandates MARINA to ensure that the examination, licensing and certification system for marine deck and engine officers are in accordance with the requirements prescribed under the 1978 STCW.

“They have been given us a positive note and there will be likely no negative resolution. They would provide technical assistance to support us in implementing the measures,” a reliable source said.

A further EMSA inspection is scheduled for October 2014 to verify on the spot the implementation of the measures taken.

The EU also invited Philippine authorities to bring the matter to the attention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as seek further technical assistance from the international community as has been the case in the past.

“The EU has long recognized The Philippines as an important maritime nation whose many seafarers on European vessels are much appreciated,” EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said in a statement. “Meanwhile, recent events continue to remind us of the importance of ensuring high standards for the officials at the helm of our vessels in the interests of the safety of passengers, seafarers, merchandise and the maritime industry as a whole.”

EMSA first threatened to ban Filipino maritime officers from EU-flagged ships in 2010 after a follow-up on a 2006 audit found recommendations on the STCW compliance had not been implemented.


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