You are here

Gov't eyes EO on improving shipboard training to address grievances of EU safety agency

Gov't eyes EO on improving shipboard training to address grievances of EU safety agency
LLANESCA T. PANTI, November 17, 2022

The Marcos administration is eyeing an executive order to address the lack of shipboard training among Filipino seafarers and other "grievances" of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), government officials said Thursday.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Prospero de Vera, Jr., Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) executive director Samuel Batalla, and lawyer Julius Yano of the Department of Transportation made the assurance during the House overseas workers affairs panel hearing.

House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list asked about the effects of the EMSA grievances on Filipino seafarers on board European-flagged ships.

“We (CHED and Marina) are not done yet with curriculum reform, but I think our compliance with the observations by EMSA, iyon muna ang kailangan tutukan nating problema. Once we have complied with it, we will deal with the bigger problem which is the shipboard training issue,” De Vera said.

(We really need to focus first on our problem with complying with EMSA observation.)

“Because how can you produce good seafarer if you cannot comply with components of shipboard training? If you can’t comply with the outcomes needed, you cannot produce good, qualified seafarer for international practice,” he added.

De Vera said President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is already aware of this.

“I told the President that we seriously need to address the shipboard training because shipboard training has a direct impact on the kind of seafarers we produce. Think of it this way: if you open a medical school or a nursing school without a proper training hospital, you won’t produce good doctors and nurses,” he said.

“We need to give more attention to this, and a draft executive order is being prepared to address the shipboard training because there are observations that there are too many students but too few ships, and that is part of curriculum reform in preparing a seafarer,” he added.

Yano, for his part, said the government is already taking many steps to address EMSA grievances.

Based on MARINA records, the Philippines has instituted 19 steps to address EMSA findings which include:

*revised policies, standards and guidelines and the rules and regulations for the evaluation and inspections of Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE)
*development of standardized course Package for BSMT/ BSMarE programs (2nd year and 3rd year)
*revision of quality procedures and forms based on the Marina circular on policies, standards and guidelines on the accreditation of maritime training institutions and assessment centers
*updating of the Quality Standards System (QSS)
*automation of the carrying capacity computation, among others.

“We did not fail the EMSA audit, although there have been previous audits where EMSA found grievances. These grievances are acknowledged, and as a matter of fact they are being addressed,” Yano said.

“We are working on correcting these grievances. There has been no adverse effect on our seafarers because they are still employed, on board, and our Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) certification is still being recognized by European flagged vessels,” he added.

Batalla, for his part, said MARINA and CHED already issued revised policies to address the EMSA findings and submitted it to the European Commission, including strict monitoring of maritime schools.

“There is joint CHED-MARINA monitoring of maritime schools and this is ongoing, They have to comply [with the STCW] and if they don’t, we will recommend sanctions or worse, closure of the programs,” Batalla pointed out.—AOL, GMA Integrated News