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Brenda V. Pimentel: Developing the country’s maritime human capital; Last part--STCW Convention – impact on human resource development

Developing the country’s maritime human capital
Brenda V. Pimentel March 11, 2020

Last part
STCW Convention – impact on human resource development

Until the adoption of the STCW Convention which sets the global standard for seafarers’ training and certification, merchant marine courses received the same attention as any higher education learning, except at that time, seafarers engaged in international voyages were already offered higher compensation packages than most professions. That made the merchant marine program attractive. The STCW convention has leveled the playing field for seafarers worldwide and consequently opened wider opportunity for Filipino seafarers.

From this archipelago’s perspective, compliance with the STCW convention should be given all the proper consideration in order to get the Filipino seafarers fill the demand for shipboard labor as developed maritime countries the contraction in their national merchant marine pool. Too, developed flag States find non-nationals inexpensive compared to their nationals making Filipino seafarers as an attractive option in crew deployment.

Thus followed the frenzied campaign to get this archipelago’s youth to go to sea – a promising career indeed. This was followed by the determination to put in place all the necessary mechanisms to give effect to the STCW conveniton and in the process relegated to the back burner all other associated maritime education which do not need to approximate any other international standards. No other maritime higher education program received the same attention, not even naval architecture a maritime pursuit which Filipinos still take pride on dating from the building of the first “balanghay.”

There are not many maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs) which offer programs other than those for developing merchant mariners. A few MHEIs ventured to offer non-seafaring programs like naval architecture which were found not economically viable not only in terms of the small number of enrollees but also due to the difficulty of attracting naval architects/practitioners to teach. Sadly, in this archipelago, learning coastal management, maritime administration, port operations and related activities are mainly experiential or through short training administered to those already appointed to the job. Many in this archipelago limits their definition of maritime professionals to those in the seafaring career.

Likewise, fishermen and dockworkers/stevedores who are in fact maritime workers based on the International Labor Organization (ILO) lexicon are generally treated in much the same way as the other sectors of the labor force. Concern for them relate primarily to entitlement to welfare and labor rights, not on how this group of workers could be developed and promoted as another pillar of this archipelago’s maritime human resource.

How about giving them the recognition as maritime workers and push them into a higher notch as to be included in the maritime labor statistics? Such could revive the pride and dignity of being a maritime worker.

Presidential Decree 474 which created the Maritime Industry Authority speaks of the development of the maritime manpower. In fact, a Manpower Development Services (MDS) is one of the major offices within the agency while another unit, the STCW Office has been created to focus only on STCW matters. Expectations are high; where is this archipelago’s maritime human resource development headed?

See also:
Developing the country’s maritime human capital
Brenda V. Pimentel March 4, 2020