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Marina to slap penalty vs seafarers faking certificates

Marina to slap penalty vs seafarers faking certificates
Yashika F. Torib June 8, 2022

Seafarers seekings jobs usually frequent Kalaw in Manila. This photo was taken before the area was closed a few years ago. FILE PHOTO
PENALTIES ranging from P50,000 to P200,000, in addition to disqualification to apply for a certificate, will be imposed by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) against seafarers who are found guilty of submitting falsified, fraudulent or tampered documents to the agency.

Marina increased the penalty from the original amount of P5,000 following observations that many seafarers would still resort to having their documents processed by "fixers" in Kalaw — a stretch of road in the Ermita district of Manila that is frequented by seamen searching for jobs.

"Faked documents are mostly the Certificate of Proficiency (COP)," says Vice Admiral Rene Medina, executive director of Marina's Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping Office (STCWO).

COPs are certificates issued by Marina to a seafarer to attest his/her compliance with the relevant requirements of training, competencies, and seagoing service prescribed in the STCW Convention.

"Seafarers who submit fake COPs are usually those who came from the province. They have resorted to seeking the assistance of fixers in hopes of quickly securing the certificate they need. We have learned this from a seafarer who surrendered a fake COP about three years ago. He disclosed that he was approached in Kalaw by someone who introduced himself as a Marina personnel and offered assistance in the processing and release of his certificate," Medina said.

"We have found out during the revalidation of his document that it was indeed made out of the security paper used by Marina but the serial number, as revealed by our database, is already assigned to a different person," he added.

He also disclosed that there was a batch of unaccounted security paper that was believed to have been stolen from the Marina office.

"The penalty, though, is not retroactive. If the forgery was committed prior to the implementation of MC-SC 2021-04, then the original penalty of P5,000 will still apply for the first offense.

Memorandum Circular SC 2021-04 series of 2021 refers to the Revised Rules in the Issuance and Revalidation of Certificate of Proficiency.