The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) released their MARINA Advisory No. 2020-14 in response to the quarantine the Philippine government is undertaking during the fight against COVID-19. In addition to this, other maritime-related organizations are also providing ways for seafarers and trainees to handle their business without compromising their health. See below.
As per the advisory, MARINA will be operating via online platforms and a work from home model. This is so those who can stay in their homes can still work without risking their health. A skeletal workforce will be provided to ensure delivery of services continues. While all this is happening, MARINA Regional Offices and processing centers will handle all transactions.
Seafarers and certifications
When seafarers apply for certifications and renewals, there are certain times where they have to take maritime courses in the Philippines to be eligible in applying for these. They often need to do so before the expiry date of their old certifications to get the full five year validity. But with the current situation, MARINA is allowing extension periods to the validity of seafarers’ previous certificates of proficiency (COP). This is also because they’ll be suspending training courses in NCR until April 12 (subject to change).
Aside from this, the Global Wind Safety Organization (GWO) and OPITO are also providing extensions so seafarers can still take their refresher courses as needed two months after their initial expiry date. Hygienic measures will also be taken in teaching these courses to lessen the spread of the virus.
Last but not least, the shipping operations. All passenger travels within the capital region shall be suspended from the beginning of the quarantine until the end, whenever that will be. Furthermore, social distancing shall be taken within each vessel to avoid the virus from spreading any further. Of course, ships with valuable cargo and necessities shall still set sail in order to provide for the citizens of NCR in this time of need.
This coronavirus crisis has affected quite a lot of people and will be going on for sometime. That is why we as seafarers have to take utmost care of ourselves and of our hygiene if we want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. With this, industry-wide measures are provided by maritime institutions to ensure maritime professionals, instructors, and trainees alike can focus on caring for their families and health without worrying about their careers for the time being.