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Filipinos still face challenges of seafarer competency

Filipinos still face challenges of seafarer competency
Genivi Verdejo June 29, 2022

INTERNATIONAL business groups looked deeper into the Filipino seafarers' competency issues in global shipping to fill in the gaps.

Capt. Joeran Noestvik, global owner's representative of Noatun Maritime, said the demand for Filipino seafarers remains high, but there are gaps in the quality of seafarer training and education.

Noestvik discussed the Philippine seafarers' competency during last month's meeting of the Joint Maritime Committee (JMC) of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, and the Philippines Norway Business Council at The German Club, in Makati.

He explained that a non-competent seafarer lacks basic skills, is without proper screening, has substandard shipboard training with non-alignment of practical and theoretical exams with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) requirements, and has lack of understanding of the STCW competence requirement.

He said the main reason behind this competency problem is that companies have taken the responsibility to develop and train seafarers.

Noestvik said there is no program in the Philippines to develop fitters, bosun and pumpmen. "No training centers are looking into the internal programs that private companies offer. These are programs that Filipino seafarers should acquire," he said.

JMC Chairman Tore Henriksen said after Noestvik's presentation, there was an open forum where he shared more insights on the topic.

Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Robert Empedrad said the strategic corrective actions submitted by Marina have addressed the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) findings.

Marina has raised the level of standards in compliance with the requirements of the STCW. "We will ensure that the Philippines will continue to be the top producing country of seafarers," he said.