To bolster the current efforts and capabilities of the Philippine maritime industry as a member state in the International Maritime Organization (IMO), President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order No. 84. With this act, the Inter-agency Council on the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) has officially been established.
The IMSAS was formed to ensure the proper application of the required IMO instruments and standards on maritime operations. This even extends to the instruction of maritime courses in the Philippines in various maritime training centers across the country. As this concerns issues such as safety regulations, anti-pollution efforts, and disaster response, the newly-formed IMSAS council plays a crucial role in maintaining the standards of the industry and the welfare of Filipino trainees and seafarers.
Governing bodies such as the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – among others – are involved in the council with their key personnel as members. A Technical Working Group (TWG) with members hailing from relevant government offices was also formed to help with any efforts spearheaded by the council. Using EO 84 as the legal basis, the council is tasked to uphold the status and duties of the Philippines both as a member of the IMO and as a coastal state.
This news entails various necessary changes to all aspects of the industry in the country, from the performance of working seafarers to the curriculum of current maritime trainees. With an IMSAS council overseeing everything, there’s now a more thorough initiative to improve and raise the standards of the local maritime industry.
A council ensuring both the safety procedures and day-to-day operations of seafarers pass international standards means an improvement to working conditions and work output. Measures will be taken to improve the safety and health of those working onboard, thereby boosting employee morale and motivation. In addition to a higher standard set for the work, a more invigorated and inspired staff will result in better work results. These small boosts can raise the status of both Filipino seafarers and the Philippine maritime industry as a whole, solidifying our position in the international maritime scene.
From a trainee’s perspective, the council’s plans of action to improve the current maritime training program will lead to better trained seafarers. Aspiring trainees will be more encouraged to enroll after seeing the more advanced and competitive curriculum and the quality seafarers the programs produce. More individuals taking these courses eventually means an increase of seafarers in an industry that is constantly innovating, thus, always in need of new blood to the scene.
With the signing of this Executive Order, things are looking up for the maritime industry in the country. As the seafaring scene evolves and more advancements are made in terms of the processes and training, it’s important for more EOs similar to this to be passed for the betterment of maritime standards. This, in turn, can make our Filipino seafarers capable and ready for the global scale.