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MARINA: EU nod on PH seafarer certificates ‘normal recognition’

MARINA: EU nod on PH seafarer certificates ‘normal recognition’
Filane Mikee Cervantes April 11, 2023

MANILA – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Tuesday said the European Commission's decision to continue recognizing the country’s seafarer training and certification system is a "normal recognition" that is not subject to any requisite conditions.

In a Palace media briefing, MARINA Administrator Hernani Fabia explained that the recognition would give the Philippines a "clean slate" to improve the education, training and certification system for seafarers.

"First, I would like to clarify that the recognition of the Philippine government by the European Commission is a normal recognition. That means there is no condition; it is not grey matter. It is a regular recognition issued by EC, and we have a clean slate to start with," Fabia said.

He said the recognition is good for 10 years, subject to reassessment and monitoring by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

"So that's why we have also to conduct regular trainings and capacity building for our stakeholders and our marine personnel," Fabia said.

For his part, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair J. Prospero De Vera III vowed to work with MARINA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to address the maritime education issues to meet international standards.

De Vera expressed gratitude to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for giving directives to relevant government agencies to achieve compliance with standards set by the EU and prevent massive job losses.

"This is really a team effort because this problem has been there for so long. And with the recognition of EU of our efforts, we assure continued employment for our 50,000 seafarers in EU ships," De Vera said.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport has extended its recognition of the Philippine government’s maritime education, training and certification for seafarers after taking note of the country’s actions in addressing some of its serious deficiencies.

In a letter received on March 31, Director-General Henrik Hololei told Fabia that based on the response by Filipino authorities and on all available information, “the Commission has concluded that the measures taken demonstrate concrete progress and improvement as regards the compliance with the requirements of the STCW Convention.”

The EU official said the outcome of the analysis allows the EU to extend the recognition of the Republic of Philippines STCW system although there are still issues to be addressed. Moreover, they expect the Philippine government to continue improving in other areas of the system. (PNA)