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Mastering maritime from sea to shore

Mastering maritime from sea to shore
Yashika Torib May 26, 2021

THE majority, if not all, of Filipino seafarers may have met or heard the name "Ronald Enrile" at one point in their career.

The veteran ship captain has been around the manning and shipping sectors since the early 90s at the height of the country's manning boom when Filipinos were dominating the international fleet. It was during this time when Enrile has finally decided to retire from the captain's chair and master another competence - finding the best in a sea of mariners and deploying them for shipboard duty.

"The first few months of working onshore was challenging. There were a lot of long days and sleepless nights until I learned to manage my time. Pressure has been a part of my job since my seafaring days but it was here when the sense of fulfillment was stronger as I was able to train seafarers from their cadetship years up to the moment they become masters and chief engineers. It was rewarding," Enrile said of his experience of working with Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC).

Enrile was a product of the prestigious Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) with a degree in Marine Transportation major in Marine Navigation and Seamanship. After sailing and mastering the high seas for more than a decade since 1981, he settled back home to learn more about the maritime industry.

"I joined PTC in 1994 as a Marine Personnel Officer and moved up the corporate ladder until I was promoted as the Senior Vice President of the Ship Management Group," he shared.

27 years of developing and deploying seafarers further sharpened Enrile's expertise in manning. His profound understanding of the peculiarities of the sector reinforced his stance on education and training - he believes that everything goes beyond paper.

"The employment of seafarers is not only based on the certificates they have.," Enrile said in agreement to the recent pronouncement of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to make the Management Level Course a non-mandatory training for seafarers.

MLC was mandated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in 2006 for seafarers who wish to become ship officers.

"Aside from their training, education, and health certificates, Filipino seafarers undergo the company's assessment, written examination, technical interview, and final evaluation of the ship manager before they are deployed on ships. They need to prove that they understand and can execute the responsibilities of the position they are applying for onboard," he said.

These days, employers such as Enrile are fraught with the constantly changing health protocols in international ports that make crew change difficult.

"Due to the pandemic, the manning sector's challenge is to conduct crew change on time. Nonetheless, our efforts were successful in convincing the government to prioritize inoculating our seafarers, they are now under the priority list tier A4. This will hasten their deployment."

Four decades since he entered the maritime industry, Enrile still believes that it was destiny that brought him into the noble profession of seafaring. He was the first merchant mariner in his family. Years later, he finds himself working for PTC, the company that Carlos Salinas, Goodwill Maritime Ambassador for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), founded.

"I am very grateful to work for Ambassador Salinas who helped me to become who I am today," Enrile said.

Behind all the accomplishments and accolades, however, is a man who simply sees himself as an ordinary person 'with a big heart'. "Those who are close to me call me Bok. I also love playing sports and basketball is number one on my list, second is ten-pin bowling and I am recently into golf," he concluded.