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Beyond IMO whitelist: PHL needs Emsa OK

Beyond IMO whitelist: PHL needs Emsa OK
Lorenz S. Marasigan- September 9, 2019

WHILE it recently celebrated a win for remaining in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) whitelist, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has another “challenge” to complete—passing the industry review of the European Maritime Safety Agency (Emsa).

Marina Administrator Narciso A. Vingson Jr. said his group will submit its compliance report to the Emsa on October 31, pending the completion of “seven” more issues that need resolution.

“The challenge is not the IMO whitelisting but the Emsa inspection sometime in the first quarter of 2020. They will come back to check our compliance,” he said.

The Philippines has to correct 42 action items under an initial Emsa report, 35 of which have already been addressed.

“There are seven more that we have to comply with…in terms of national provision, certification, maritime administration, and maritime training institutions, among others,” Vingson said. “We have informed them that this is already a national issue.”

President Duterte issued Executive Order 63 earlier this year, mandating Marina to establish policies and mechanisms to promote the well-being and competence of Filipino seafarers being deployed here and abroad.

An interagency task force also evaluated the compliance of maritime higher educational institutions on the training and courses offered to aspiring Filipino mariners. Aside from Marina, it is composed of the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Health and Philippine Coast Guard.

Seven existing national legislations and the development of six training course packages are also being reviewed for implementation.

“This is why they are very receptive to that because we are doing our best to do the corrective actions,” Vingson said. Failure to pass the Emsa audit may potentially jeopardize the livelihood of some 100,000 Filipino seafarers deployed in European flag vessels.

There are about 500,000 Filipino seafarers across the globe—400,000 internationally, 100,000 locally—and they remit about $6 billion annually, contributing to the growth of the Philippine economy.