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Marina hints at 'comeback' of controversial Management Level Course Filipino ship officers

Marina hints at 'comeback' of controversial MLC
Yashika F. Torib August 31, 2022

THE Management Level Course (MLC) for Filipino ship officers might be revived by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) under its new administrator, Hernani Fabia.

Fabia announced during the Joint Maritime Committee (JMC) of the German Dutch-Nordic-Norwegian Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines on August 26 that there is probably a need to revive MLC to correct the non-compliant findings by independent evaluators (IE) from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

"[There] was a finding by the independent evaluator that there is no evidence of a formal education and training for management level officers" Fabia said.

According to Marina Circular Number 2014-01, MLC was developed to comply with the requirements of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention under Regulation II/2 of the Manila Amendments.

Regulation II/2 provides the mandatory minimum requirements for certification of Masters and Chief Mates on ships between 500 and 3,000 gross tonnage.

The MLC for marine deck and engine officers was adopted and implemented in February 2014.

The MLC courses that are already contained in the revised Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) program based on the Commission on Higher Education's (CHEd )Memorandum Order 31, series of 2013, are no longer repeated in the new MLC for marine deck officers to avoid duplication.

The Marina circular also stated that MLC was formulated in accordance with the 2010 Manila Amendments to the 1978 STCW Convention.

On May 7, 2021, under the then Marina administrator, retired admiral Robert Empedrad, the circular was rescinded by Marina Advisory Number 2021-23. The advisory states that MLC, among other courses, is no longer mandatory for seafarers. It will only be required for seafarers who have failed three times in their examination or assessment.

"There is an existing memorandum circular about the MLC, [but] it was rescinded by an advisory. There is a question whether an advisory can rescind a circular," Fabia questioned.

He also clarified that MLC is not, by itself, a course that is contained in the STCW but a program to address the training requirements for management-level officers as mandated by the convention.

"We have to cooperate in disseminating this. Otherwise, we will not be included in the [IMO] whitelist. The independent evaluators stated that this is a 'killer finding'," he said.

He said that this move "may delay the employment of seafarers." MLC is a 45-day course divided into three functions.

As of this writing, Marina is yet to release a circular or advisory to address the issue.