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FAME bats for seafarer 'in-service' experience

FAME bats for seafarer 'in-service' experience
November 9, 2022

INSTEAD of requiring seafarers to attend costly training courses in training centers, the Filipino Association of Mariners' Employment (FAME) has proposed giving due recognition of in-service experience in the training of Filipino seafarers.

FAME President Gaudencio Morales made the statement in favor of seafarers' in-service training during an urgent meeting with officials of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) STCW Office on October 4.

Even as it has thrown its support to Marina's current efforts to put the country's maritime education and training in order and correct the findings of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), FAME presented several specific proposals.

Among the proposals of the nation's biggest manning group, Morales said is the use of Approved In-Service Experience of seafarers as proof that they already possess the competencies required in the convention.

A seafarer for 20 years, eight years of which as master, Capt. Morales knows that seafarers have been practicing these competencies on board, but their invaluable sea experience are often ignored and not given due recognition.

He said the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, has explicitly prescribed in-service experience along with simulator and laboratory training as means to demonstrate seafarers' required competence in different onboard positions.

The FAME president, however, recommended the in-service experience of seafarers should be "certified by their master and chief engineer and are subject to examination and assessment by Marina."

If adopted by Marina, the FAME proposal hopes to reduce the number of training courses required by the maritime administration among seafarers to be undertaken in maritime training institutions.

He highlighted the need to amend the Marina Memorandum Circular 2014-01, which provides for the Management Level Course, to consider the following FAME recommendations:

1. Course mapping and review of the existing maritime curriculum

2. Identification of who will be required to take the MLC

3. Inclusion of other policy options aside from MLC or combinations of the following options:

a. In school (curriculum) as per Philippine Response to EMSA in March 2022

b. Approved In-Service Experience (certified by Master and CE subject to examination and assessment by Marina), simulator, and other laboratory training as specified in the STCW Code

c. Online Training while onboard or on vacation instead of in-person training

d. Equivalent Approved Company In-House Training.

Morales, as president of several manning companies, indicated that FAME's proposals were prompted by its members' apprehensions over a possible interruption in the country's deployment with the planned re-imposition of MLC.

"We in FAME are concerned on how to prevent the possible serious disruption on the supply chain of management level officers, which could be a result of excessive training required as well as the high cost involved in taking such training before the seafarer can take his or her COC examination."

Nevertheless, the FAME president said, "We fully support the initiatives of Marina-STCW Office to comply with the STCW requirements" as the association is hopeful Marina will act favorably on its recommendations.

"We trust that these proposals shall be taken into consideration in the review of the MLC to ensure that both the quality of training and education and the continuous development of our Filipino seafarers are maintained," Morales concluded.