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Shipowners ask Marina: Review cadetship program

Shipowners ask Marina: Review cadetship program
Earl Kim H. Padronia Apr 22, 2024

AN ASSOCIATION composed of shipowners has urged the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to review its cadetship and manning policies in the domestic shipping industry, which were detrimental to graduating maritime students.

In an interview on Friday, April 19, 2024, Lucio Roger Lim Jr., chairman of the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA), said Marina has implemented policies patterned after international regulations that are not applicable to the local shipping context or practical for short voyages and small vessels.

Lim brought up these concerns to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista during the PCSA’s General Membership Meeting held at the Fili Hotel in Nustar Cebu on Friday.

The PCSA is the largest shipping association in the Philippines and the biggest in terms of total gross tonnage of ships combined. It represents 50 members with more than 600 vessels from small to medium in size.

Lim said that the Marina joint circular memorandum with the Commission on Higher Education prohibits maritime students from graduating during their cadetship program if they do not board convention-sized ships, particularly vessels above 500 gross register tonnage (GRT), or those equipped with engines of 750 kilowatts (kW) or approximately 1,000 horsepower.

Lim said this policy was designed to train maritime students for the international shipping industry, enabling them to command and operate vessels with 500 GRT or above, or those with engines of 750 kW or higher. It also aligns with the directives of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, an international framework of standards and regulations for seafarers.

Limited number

However, Lim said there are only limited number of registered vessels in the country that meet Marina’s specifications.

According to PCSA’s position paper, the domestic shipping industry in the country comprises only 1,235 registered vessels with 500 GRT or above. In contrast, there were approximately 2,400 registered vessels below 500 GRT as of December 2023.

Prior to this new policy, non-convention ships with 200-499 GRT were permitted to accommodate the cadetship training program.

“They could just have allowed cadets to board below 500 GRT or below 1,000 horsepower by saying (after) your apprentice, you can only serve domestic (shipping),” Lim said.


Maritime students undergo one year of cadetship training after completing their third year in the program. Lim said Marina could have strengthened bridging mechanisms to train maritime students from domestic to international shipping standards.

“After you have graduated, graduate na ka, lipay na ang imong ginikanan. Dili parehas karon nga luoy kaayo ang mga bata kay dili ka sakay og cadetship kay dili ka graduate,” Lim said.

(After you have graduated, your parents will be happy. It’s not the same today where the students, if they cannot complete their cadetship, cannot graduate.)

Neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and others have no such policies, according to Lim.

Lim said that they have been raising these concerns to Marina, however, the agency has not heeded their appeal.

Marina has other policies requiring the increase in manpower requirement for domestic shipping, which Lim said, was not economically practical for voyages with less than 200 nautical miles and traveling less than 12 hours. It has also imposed policies patterned after Maritime Labor Convention of 2006, a set of international standards for labor practices aboard international vessels. / EHP