Philippines and Japan renew commitment on maritime training

The Philippines and Japan have renewed their commitment to improving maritime education, which includes maritime training in the Philippines, by signing a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) on the “2019 Maritime Instructors’ Training Scheme” last February 19, 2019. The Philippines signed through the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA). On the other hand, Japan signed through the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT), and the Seamen’s Employment Center of Japan (SECOJ).

The agreement states that Japan will continue taking in qualified Filipino instructors so they can develop their teaching. They will   improve their knowledge on technical information related to their specialized field. This will be done through a two-month advanced training program this 2019. The instructors will also be taught how to organize practical training programs and construct criteria for group training.

The delegates who will be sent shall be chosen based on the criteria below:

  1. Must be 25-49 years old;
  2. Has proficiency in English;
  3. In peak physical and mental health;
  4. With one year teaching experience in a navigational or engineering course;
  5. Qualified operational level seafarer for international voyage; and
  6. Open to participate in maritime education for at least five years upon training completion.

MARINA will be sending invites for application to known and recognized maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs). This is to collect possible nominees. MARINA will prepare a list of preliminary delegates who will pass the first selection process. The final selection will then be done by SECOJ and MLIT.

Japan has also conducted these training programs with instructors from Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China. Since the start of the MOC in 2010, 59 Filipino maritime instructors have finished the program. They’ve gone on to share their experiences to many aspiring seafarers in the Philippines.

This continuing partnership will be beneficial in improving the state of maritime training in the Philippines. Through this program, instructors are sure to improve, resulting in aspirants who are better qualified because of the quality training they’ve received.


Sleeplessness At Sea

On average, a human being needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects your overall physical and mental health. It also keeps your body refreshed and your mind alert. Unfortunately, seafarers don’t get to enjoy much rest due to the working conditions and labor needed to complete the job. This is not recommended for it can lead to consequences on both the health of the seafarer as well as the quality of work.

If you’re unconvinced, here are some more in-depth reasons why it’s important that you as a seafarer should get enough sleep.

Sleeplessness can cause accidents

There have been numerous instances where lack of sleep led to accidents that caused damage to the ship and/or deaths. These situations have also spawned from rushed jobs due to sleep deprivation, therefore, a lack of a critical eye when working. Furthermore, data from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) stated that one out of four seafarers fall asleep while on watch. Despite this, an increase on the number of work hours was still implemented. As sleep can help in making you more alert and well-rested, having little to no sleep can lessen your focus and abilities.

Lack of sleep can lead to health complications

Aside from the effects on your job, lack of sleep can lead to a host of health problems both physically and mentally. For example, it can lead to heart problems, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to mood swings and anxiety. These are issues that would not be ideal in a high pressure setting such as a maritime career. Furthermore, getting these complications might prevent you from returning to this line of work, as the personnel might deem you unhealthy and unfit for the job.

Enough sleep is part of the regulations

According to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest are:

  1. no more than 14 hours in any 24 hour period and no more than 72 hours in any 7 day period; or
  2. at least 10 hours in any 24 hour period; and at least 77 hours in any 7 day period.

Based on these, one can see that maritime career regulations really do value the importance of getting enough rest. Unless there are any significant exceptions, a seafarer cannot be asked to exceed mandated rest/work hours, nor can he be enticed to do so against payment of overtime.

With all these, the importance of sleep is established. But of course, it does depend on the intensity of the work of each seafarer. You cannot apply the required number of hours to rest on each officer as individual schedules and duties vary. Still, there is a basic need for each officer to get sleep so they can perform their tasks efficiently. Aside from your maritime training in the Philippines, you need to learn how to manage your work and sleep hours, as a lack of the latter can have dire consequences.

Crew Pay Increases In 2018 After Years of Stagnation

The latest Manning Annual Review and Forecast report by shipping consultancy Drewry states that cost growth has returned to seafaring in 2018 and will continue to accelerate at a moderate pace on recovering vessel earnings and continued shortfall officer numbers. This is following years of stagnation due to the depressed state of most cargo markets rendering wage increases almost unaffordable.

Manning costs have risen moderately as a result of the recovery in most cargo shipping markets. This recovery has taken pressure off vessel operators and has allowed employers to increase wages particularly across market-related officer ranks.

Martin Dixon, director of research products of Drewry, said that back then, owners had to make up for the financial losses by not increasing wage.

According to the report by Drewry, the estimated aggregate manning costs increased by around 1% this year compared to the 0.2% rise last year. In the increase this year, ratings and officer pay rose by the same margin. This is in contrast to last year that was bogged down by a 0.75% decline in overall officer wage rates.

This wage growth has happened in spite of the shortfall in officer numbers decreasing to a more manageable level, but the shortage is expected to continue in the future. This is because though there is a projected stagnation in the vessel fleet, the longer leaves and shorter tours of duty have increased man-berth ratio requirements. Officer supply growth has also been inferred as slowing further. In contrast, ratings supply is expected to maintain the fact that it has always been in surplus.

Regarding this, Dixon commented, “The growth in supply of seafarers has been slowing and is projected to slacken further over the next five years. This slowdown in the available maritime workforce has important implications for shipowners, particularly in terms of recruitment, retention and wage costs.”

The Drewry report further elucidates that that the pressure on vessel operators’ costs will continue and dampen wage inflation. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has yet to arrive to an agreement on new wage scales with employer organizations that will take effect starting January of next year. Still, Drewry does not expect that this will lead to a significant rise in average salaries as lots of seafarers already earn higher than the minimum wage.

In conclusion, the Drewry report projects that the average manning costs will increase over the next five years at a moderate pace. This will have little acceleration expected nearing the end of the forecast period as backup ratios increase to cope with longer leave periods. Higher vessel earnings and competition for scarce officers certified to crew specialist ships will also affect moderately higher wage growth during this timeframe.

Despite the wage growth only slightly higher, this is good news for aspiring seafarers undergoing maritime training in the Philippines as their wages will be slightly higher should they be hired within the projected time frame of wage rise.

(Splash 247)


DOLE Tackles Key Maritime Issues In Maritime Council Meeting

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) held a Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) on January 25, with the key industry issues such as maritime training, as well as the sinking of MV Mercraft 3, as its main agenda.


The maritime industry has had its fair share of tirades during the past few months, which started during the sinking of MV Mercraft 3 late last year. Also discussed during the meeting was the industry leaders’ concerns about the maritime training cadets in the Philippines receive.


Present in the MITC meeting are members of the Tripartite council coming from the government, Maritime Unions, maritime employer groups, officers from the Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines (MMAP), and other pro-maritime industry groups.


According to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Director Levinson Alcantara, regular meetings are scheduled for the amendments of the Standard Employment Contract for seafarers, development of standards of the employment contract of migrant fishers, study on the International Labour Organization minimum wage and the regulations of seafarers’ claims from financial security providers.


One of the key highlights of the meetings was the discussion of the issue brought up by Captain Edwin Itable of MMAP. He requested the council to conduct a case study regarding MV Mercraft 3, the fast craft the sank into the waters of Quezon in December 2017. He also proposed that a technical working group be created tasked to conduct a study on the matter and discuss other issues and concerns. The group will be composed mainly of representatives from Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Joint Manning Group, MMAP, and other related agencies and parties.

MITC took note of all the concerns brought to attention during the meeting, and assured that they will be related to the proper agencies.  (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Top Reasons Why A Merchant Navy Career Is Good For You

Today, majority of cargo is transported across the world through ships, making them a crucial component of international trade and instrumental to the improvement of the world’s economy through their remittances.


For Filipinos, the positive financial effects of having relatives who work in the maritime industry, has led many to encourage their children to undergo maritime training in the Philippines. Aside from the substantial compensation, the opportunity to travel to different places all over the world draws a lot of young people to join the industry. Here are more reasons why getting a career in the merchant navy is good for you:  


Tax benefits

Seafarers who work on merchant vessels get to enjoy hefty incomes because they do not need to pay their taxes, provided that the requirements for tax exemption are met.  A merchant maritime professional has to spend a minimum to six (6) months performing his/her duties on a vessel for him/her to be exempted from paying tax for that specific financial year.


Travel perks

There is no doubt that working on merchant vessels is physically and psychologically demanding. With maintenance, engine watch, and navigation taking up most of their time, it is only right that seafarers are given the privilege to experience visiting different exotic destinations. While these perks seem to dwarf when compared to the backbreaking work seafarers have to endure, the experience of immersing themselves in the different cultures every destination has to offer are an invaluable privilege many overseas workers treasure, seafarers included.  


Learning new cultures

With working on a ship that sails all over the world comes the opportunity for seafarers to immerse themselves into different cultures. Large shipping companies have seafarers of diverse nationalities under their employ, which automatically increases adaptability and brings more awareness about the beliefs, culture and even politics. Bringing together a diverse crew creates new working culture and values that is beneficial not only to the unit itself, but to the company as well.


Enhanced professionalism

Seafarers sail in the middle of open water for long periods of time. Therefore, they would need to be resourceful at times. Aside from extreme resourcefulness, seafarers are also required to have good communication skills, along with following and maintaining high degree of self discipline in order to cohesively work together as a unit. These values are not only important as they go about their tasks, it can also be applied to their personal lives.


Regulated lifestyle

Life onboard for seafarers is extremely methodical, consisting mainly of routines that have to be executed with utmost precision. It is this discipline that helps a young cadet develop into a highly skilled master later in his/her career. A regulated lifestyle inadvertently instills discipline among seafarers, having to do the same routine everyday, without fail. Since the open waters are extremely unpredictable, seafarers have to be highly cautious, focused and alert at all times. Their well regulated lifestyles minimizes any eventuality, substantially reducing any possibility of any untoward incident.


Extended vacations

Since the jobs in the industry take months to finish, it is only fair that these dedicated seafarers be given vacations. The free time allows seafarers to enjoy spending quality time with their loved ones, and even recuperate their bodies after the long months of strenuous physical work.


The world relies on the merchant navy and its seafarers to ensure that trade and transportation continues to run smoothly. Onboard its ships are millions worth of investments, produce and livelihood. And with the world heavily relying on merchant ships, seafarers are among the most in demand sectors of the workforce worldwide, making it one of the most in demand and lucrative professions today.