You are here

Marina hit for announcing closure of maritime schools

Marina hit for announcing closure of maritime schools
Yashika F. Torib February 17, 2020

Some owners and representatives of maritime schools, training centers and manning agencies cried foul over the premature announcement of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) that two-thirds of maritime schools face closure.

A source from the maritime education and training community slammed Marina Administrator Narciso Vingson Jr. for saying 61 maritime schools might be closed.

“We are investing billions of pesos to improve our schools and address the issues; in fact, we have a grace period of until March to comply. It is so unfair to declare closures and revocation of government permits when there are schools whose deficiencies are just 2 points, while others are at 40. Are they going to close even those that have very minimal deficiencies? Are they just going to shut everything down while everyone is in the middle of addressing the issues?” the source said. “You have a group that is trying so hard to fix the issue and then there’s another who pulls it down. It’s sending all the wrong signals.”

The source said the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) gave these schools time to correct their deficiencies.

“Now Marina releases a strongly worded recommendation to Congress for the closure of two-thirds of the country’s maritime schools, where is the fairness in that? They are causing more harm, and this is ruining the reputation of our schools,” the source added. “Some of the maritime schools on the list are autonomous; some are even the largest and most respected in the maritime education sector. If these schools that are recommended for closure, how and who will supply the needs of the maritime industry?”

Capt. Edgardo Flores, president of Greek-owned Eastern Mediterranean Manning Agency Inc., echoed these sentiments.

“There is a process for making such disclosures. The Technical Panel for Maritime Education will recommend whether a school is for closure, based on inspections and corrective actions, then the CHEd en banc will review and sign its approval. It is also the responsibility of CHEd to make the announcement of closures; that is not the job of Marina. So, if CHEd still has not submitted a report to the Committee on Transportation, why did Marina do this?” he asked.

The European Maritime Safety Agency is set to inspect maritime schools in March this year to determine if schools supplying crew to European-flagged ships are enforcing the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping that set minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on merchant ships.