Guidelines For COVID-19 In The Maritime Industry

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.

Shipping operations

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.

How To Improve Maritime Teaching In The Philippines

The Philippines is considered one of the best sources for maritime professionals worldwide. It’s apparent in how everywhere you go, you’re likely to meet a Filipino seafarer working here or overseas. This is a testament as to how effective maritime school are here in Manila and in other parts of the country, if it manages to produce competent and hardworking employees for shipping companies around the world.

Still, education should be constantly evolving in order for the local maritime industry to grow. Not doing so will cause it to stagnate, leaving us behind as more countries innovate in all aspects. Here are ways we can improve the maritime training courses and curriculum in the Philippines.

Follow the latest standards

There are many governing bodies within the field who determine the standards and regulations needed for training. They should be strictly followed so the students are up-to-date with the latest developments in maritime instruction. True enough, the Philippines has done well in addressing these situations. Just last year, our country sought to tackle the lacking aspects of our current training regimen as determined by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). This was a good move on our part as we found what needed improving and addressed it accordingly, making us at par with international standards.

Use new and updated technology

In accordance with the enhancement of lessons, the technology and equipment used in these should also be updated. Better technical machinery means a better experience during courses, especially the ones that entail hands-on training and simulations. Aside from that, outdated equipment may also not be safe to use and could result in injuries during training sessions. We don’t want trainees to get hurt even before their actual duties now do we?

Broaden horizons

Last but not the least, aside from following the guidelines provided, more maritime institutions should take initiative and look for better ways to improve how they teach seafaring. Whether this be in the form of incorporating unorthodox but helpful teaching methods, or proposing on adding new courses, the maritime schools have to take initiative as well. For example, with marine chemists seen as important people when it comes to safety of confined spaces on the ship, perhaps chemistry subjects can be taught to trainees.

There are a lot of actions we can take to elevate our training standards so we can continue creating even more quality trainees. It just takes passion and dedication to this profession. Those who are truly driven to forward the industry’s standards are the ones that can spark the change to take it to greater heights. And the best way to start that is by refining and polishing the training we do have to give students the quality education they deserve.

MARINA Calls For Compliance With The IMO 2020 Global Sulfur Cap

It’s a known fact that sulfur and sulfur oxide emissions can cause air pollution in the environment, and this is one of the things you learn from your maritime courses in the Philippines. For this reason, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Global Sulfur Cap was established to combat such pollution. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is now calling for the strict compliance of ship operators to the IMO 2020 Global Sulfur Cap as the regulation begins to take effect at the start of the new year.

Part of the proper adherence to this regulation is to reduce sulfur in ship’s fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% as stated by Annex VI of the MARPOL (maritime pollution) Convention. All Philippine-owned ships both in and out of the country are required to comply with this order and look for alternative and renewable energy sources as a means to effectively implement the Global Sulfur Cap in our country.

That being said, this plan of action still faces challenges despite its good intentions. The main issues in this regulation being carried out are the cost and availability of fuel sources that meet the guidelines set by the Global Sulfur Cap. To address this, MARINA is in constant contact with ship owners, stakeholders, and government entities – among them the Department of Energy (DOE). Aside from that, MARINA is also looking to verify the current demand for fuel by holding a survey among shipping companies in the country.

With all these measures in place, MARINA aims to ensure the execution of the Global Sulfur Cap this 2020 goes off without a hitch. In the meantime, the agency is also exerting effort to address maritime pollution in general by partnering with DOE, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).


Waste Disposal In Ships: Workshop Held By MARINA

Disposing garbage is an important duty among many seafarers, and one that should be taught alongside other maritime courses in the Philippines. Aside from maintaining cleanliness and protecting the environment, eliminating all the excess waste allows for a smoother process on the ship. For this reason, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) held the National Workshop on MARPOL Annex V and Port Reception Facilities last October 23 to 25. The workshop was hosted in coordination with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The MARPOL Annex V is also known as the Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships. Its purpose is to minimize or outright remove garbage thrown from ships into the sea. Certain practices are strictly implemented in accordance with this. The amended version was discussed during the workshop.

MARINA Officer-In-Charge VADM Narciso A. Vingson Jr. highlighted the importance of various authorities working together in order to reduce waste coming from ships. He also explained MARINA’s duty to ensure the good and healthy condition of the marine environment by educating professionals – young and old – involved in the industry.

According to IMO Regional Coordinator and Presence in East Asia Atty. Josephine Uranza, the main agendas of the workshop were the following:

  1. Spread information regarding the effects of ship waste on the sea;
  2. Make attendees aware of the international regulations as far as MARPOL Annex V and other practices are concerned;
  3. Discuss ideal and effective waste disposal methods for port reception facilities;
  4. Ensure all maritime professionals are educated enough to properly implement MARPOL Annex V.

IMO experts came to talk about various issues related to waste management and disposal in ships. These included the sources and negative effects of garbage on the environment and methods used in order to prevent such issues as explained by Mr. Peter Van den Dries. Mr. Kelton Lim and Mr. Mark Lim Yew Guan, hailing from the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore, also added information about MARPOL and the amendments of MARPOL Annex V.

As for how this translates to our practices in the country, Mr. Gerald Cordero, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) representative, explained the methods employed by the PCG to combat pollution in their duties. Regarding our country’s adherence to MARPOL 73/78, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) representative Mr. Arnold Villegas also brought up events overseen by the PPA.

To end the event, interactive talks were done and commitments made during the workshop were taken note of.

Overall, workshops like these need to be held on a regular basis for both industry veterans and new professionals to be informed of new, effective, and environment-friendly ways to dispose waste. It’s also a venue for various maritime organizations to lay out their current initiatives and how they can improve garbage disposal practices in the future. Once more maritime professionals are made aware of this, the combined efforts of each person can significantly lessen maritime waste, thus, reducing the negative effects caused by pollution.

(MARINA, safety4sea)

How Filipino Values Can Make Good Seafarers

It’s been said time and again that Filipinos are highly favored by international shipping companies. With expertise stemming from their taken maritime courses in the Philippines combined with innate Filipino values, they turn out outstanding performances in their duties. This is why the Philippines is considered the top source for quality seafarers. Not only are the maritime training centers in the country top-notch, the traits taught to every Filipino since childhood manifest in how they work. This in turn makes them in-demand by high-profile maritime companies.

But how exactly do these common Filipino values contribute to our seafarers’ status as in-demand maritime professionals?

Hospitality (magiliw na pakikitungo)

The value of hospitality is one that has always been associated with Filipinos. To be hospitable means to be warm to people you’ve just met and welcoming them to your home. While the ship is not exactly a house, the fact that seafarers live in it for months (forming familial bonds in the process) makes it a home in its own right. Filipino seafarers are very accepting of new recruits and make them feel part of the family almost immediately. They are also quite friendly to foreign staff, which is necessary in a global industry.

Respect for authority (paggalang sa nakakataas)

The value of respect, having been taught to Filipinos at an early age, is a key characteristic that makes our seafarers in-demand. Since childhood, we are taught to respect our elders. This carries over in our adulthood, where we must be deferential to authority regardless of their age. Because Filipino personnel have a respectful and gentle nature towards their bosses, they are admired and sought after by various maritime employers.

Perseverance (pagsisikap)

Another value inherent to Filipino seafarers is perseverance. Despite various struggles in the ship, our maritime professionals power through and come up with ways to address these problems. This makes them good personnel in the vessel, as they have a tendency to work hard and not give up even when the going gets tough. You won’t find an employer that says no to a diligent, go-getter employee.

Helpfulness (pagiging matulungin)

This is seen as an extension of being hospitable, as part of hospitality is being helpful to everyone in need. Rather than do things for their own benefit, a seafarer will stop to ask their fellow workers if they need any help in their tasks. They also go above and beyond by offering assistance to any member of the ship once their own tasks are done. They value the importance of teamwork, making sure each team member is given the help they need. This leads to a smoother and positive working environment.

Happiness (pagiging masiyahin)

Last but not least, Filipinos are known for being the happiest people on Earth. This is in spite of various challenges, problems, and unfortunate incidents that may arise. In an industry where stress and heavy workloads go hand in hand, it’s important to hire seafarers that have a positive disposition against all odds. While this is not to say that Fiilipino seafarers don’t get sad or stressed, they carry with them the optimism necessary to confront and address all these problems with a determined smile.

There are a lot more Filipino values that contribute to our seafarers being the best of the best. The ones above are the most applicable across all Filipino maritime professionals. That is why as early as now, you need to nurture these characteristics while you’re still training. Not only will the presence of these traits solidify your status as a great seafarer, it will also reaffirm your Filipino identity in your everyday life, including your professional life.