July 25th, 2011

Filipino Seafarers unfazed by possible EU ban

Manila, Philippines - The possibility of Filipino seafarers being banned by the European Union for not complying with certain maritime standards has not fazed the Filipino mariners said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

As a matter of fact, the demands for Filipino seafarers are “still high” even though the Lisbon-based European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) intends to revoke the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) of maritime schools in the Philippines.

According to Baldoz, EU’s warning came after the Philippine government gave a forecast that the global requirement for sailors will grow by 50% with the aging international pool in the maritime industry. Currently, the EU has been pushing from reforms in the quality of instructors and courses in the Philippines as the country continues to be one of the major suppliers of seafarers worldwide.

“The good thing about this impending EU ban is that the maritime industry from around the world has even coordinated with us… to boost our pool of officers," she said.

The Labor secretary also added that because of the aging captains from countries such as Japan and Europe, some shipping companies are sponsoring the training of some Filipino seafarers.

Though Filipino seafarers remain unfazed with the pending ban, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has intensified its inspection of maritime schools. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on have also revamped the technical assessment of their maritime schools.

These reforms will be among the reports that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will submit to EMSA by next month.

“We have already finished the report on compliances through an inter-agency committee DOLE, CHED, TESDA, Professional Regulation Commission, and Maritime Industry Authority, Baldoz said.