EU nearly banned Filipino seamen due to substandard maritime courses

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14 Nov 2011

Philippines_flag_photo_01Filipino seamen were nearly banned earlier this year from manning ships registered with European Union (EU) member-countries as a result of substandard maritime courses

offered by some Philippine maritime schools.
This imminent danger had finally galvanized various government agencies, especially the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), into action and finally move to close non-compliant maritime courses of about four schools including two maritime courses of the PMI Colleges, which has campuses in Manila and Quezon City last month.
Early last May, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) of the European Union had informed the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines was no longer considered compliant with the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
This finding was made after the EMSA had conducted an independent audit of Philippine maritime schools and reported its findings on gross deficiencies.
DFA Assistant Secretary Leslie Baja, in a letter dated last May 11, had sent a letter to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz which relayed the warning given by the EMSA of a possible withdrawal of recognition of the Philippines’ STCW training and certification system.
“Failure to comply will trigger initiation of EC procedure for withdrawal of EU recognition of Philippine STCW training and certification system. This would mean that in the long run EU-registered ships could no longer hire Filipino seafarers,” DFA warned Baldoz.
The withdrawal of the recognition was seen to have dire consequences for Filipino seafarers’ hiring opportunities on board foreign ships since this could trigger a domino effect with other nations that could adopt the same move as the EU.
Filipino seamen constitutes an estimated 30 percent of the world’s maritime manpower labor requirements.
PMI claimed that it had undertaken compliances already starting first semester of SY 2011-2012, and that CHED rules actually provide that implementation of closures be made only at the end of a schoolyear.
Source: The Philippine Star

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