Implementing Digital Measures For Better Services

Prior to the evolution of technology, getting the necessary services was quite a hassle for every seafarer. Whether it be getting their certifications, accessing their medical records, and the like, it used to be difficult and tedious to process all of these. But now, things have become much easier for both maritime institutions and professionals alike. As per the STCW Advisory No. 2020-03, they are officially rolling out the MARINA Integrated Seafarers Management Online System, or MISMO for short, to lessen the load of these tasks.

With this appointment system, basic processes can be done online instead of having to do it in person. This is in accordance with RA No. 11032, Section 7. This states that to make the processes a breeze for everyone involved, the only time professionals are required to go to MARINA is when their certificates are available for release.

Not only that, but for various involved maritime institutions, the MISMO system acts as a digital platform where said institutions can disseminate data, handle transactions, and the like with little need for face-to-face interactions. This saves time and effort for everyone so they can focus on their other tasks.

The first guideline to be followed in implementing MISMO is for maritime training centers, DOH-accredited health centers, maritime agencies, and more to provide their business email address for registration into the system.

After this, these relevant bodies should then submit a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Once the MOA is signed and the MISMO account has been made, these institutions are now permitted to use the MISMO system for their business.

As MISMO is a data-sharing platform among other things, those who are registered have to share the following:

  • Medical fitness records (for DOH-accredited clinics)
  • Educational records (for maritime training centers and educational institutions)
  • Service at sea records (for shipping and manning agencies)

It’s important to submit these data as only the ones that are encoded into the system shall be recognized. If any of these institutions don’t have their data in MISMO, they will not be allowed to apply for certificates of competence, proficiency, etc.

Getting Ready For IMSAS 2021

Featured image courtesy of MARINA

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) is an audit happening in October 2021 with the purpose of checking if our country is strictly following the standards as laid out by the IMO. As this carries utmost importance in the grander scheme of the maritime industry in the Philippines, a Verification Audit was held by the Philippine Maritime Administration. This event happened last January 20 to 24 through the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and with the presence of various governing bodies among the maritime sector.

Among the several agencies who participated are the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

Past efforts have been done in the last year in preparation for IMSAS 2021. This includes the training workshops last February 2019 by an IMO Consultant and discussions about implementation strategies – from industry regulations to improvements in maritime training centers – conducted by the IMSAS Interagency Council.

As for this Verification Audit, VAdm Narciso A. Vingson Jr., MARINA Officer-In-Charge, says that it acts as a follow-up so that existing issues and lapses in the execution of “relevant international maritime instruments” can be rectified by the corresponding parties.

Aside from the statement made by VAdm Vingson, other representatives of MARINA also took part in imparting important info. Emmanuel B. Carpio, director of the MARINA – Planning and Policy Service (MARINA – PPS) recounted the plans of action that have been implemented in compliance with IMSAS 2021 so far. Atty. Jean Ver P. Pia, PhD, Director of the MARINA – Overseas Shipping Service (MARINA – OSS) as well as our country’s Single Point of Contact (SPC) for IMSAS 2021, also led an interactive discussion about future plans to further solidify our compliance before the audit next year.

Following the audit is crucial in ensuring all our current industry processes – from the training procedures down to the actual work – meet international maritime standards. The presence of IMSAS 2021 is necessary to check if what we’re doing is right and to correct possible errors in our implementation. By participating in mock audits, workshops, and other activities leading to the audit, we can address any and all issues as early as we can for the betterment of maritime trainees, professionals, and the industry as a whole.

(MARINA, PortCalls Asia)

maritime training center

How To Keep Satisfied In The Maritime Workplace

Being part of the maritime industry is rewarding as it is stressful. Being a seafarer has a lot of perks, but also has a lot of challenges along the way. As a result, it may seem quite difficult to find satisfaction in this job. Despite all the effort you gave during your time at a maritime training center, a lack of contentment in the job can cause you to drop it. But fret not. Here are some tips we can give you so you can feel happy and satisfied in the maritime workplace.

Be friendly with your colleagues

This is applicable to all types of work, but especially in the maritime field. Because the job requires you to be away from your family for an extended period of time, it’s a must to create good interpersonal relationships with your coworkers. Not only does this help in combating loneliness, it can also positively affect the quality of work on the ship as a whole. Aside from this, going to work everyday is a lot more fun and satisfying if you’re with people you get along with very well.

Be proactive in your tasks

As much as automation has slowly been seeping through the industry, it’s not without its disadvantages. According to a study by the French Society for Maritime Medicine, automation can have a lot of negative effects on people onboard. This includes a lack of attention to work, higher possibility of accidents, and boredom. The last factor in particular can be a result of a lack of satisfaction and motivation in the work you do.

That’s why being proactive can do wonders to your level of happiness onboard. You would feel like you’re doing something for the betterment of the work quality, and you get to put your training to good use. You don’t feel as if you’re just along for the ride, as you’re actually performing important tasks that you’re good at. Not to mention, your skills can provide a human element to the work process. Take advantage of this fact by taking initiative in your duties. Who knows? You might just be recognized and rewarded for your hard work.

Take the chance for career growth

In relation to being proactive in your current tasks, you must also have the initiative to move forward in your career. If you’re being offered a new opportunity or stepping stone in the industry, don’t hesitate to take it. After all, being stuck doing the same thing for several years can cause dissatisfaction in you. It’s only natural for you to want more in your job, so you have to be active in looking for any chance you have to elevate your career. Of course, if you do have reservations, assess and reflect if accepting such offers will be good for both your profession as well as your wellbeing.

Learn when to take a break

Of course, with all the hard work you’re putting into your job, it’s also important that you know when to stop and take a breather. Working too hard can eventually lead to negative feelings about your job. It may even make you feel like you no longer enjoy what you’re doing. So, take time off when you need it. When you get enough rest, you’ll have more energy and motivation to do your tasks properly.

It’s no secret that the maritime industry can be quite difficult and taxing at times. The physical workload, the distance away from home, and the routinary nature of the job can be a deterrent. Still, you should always try to maintain the love and satisfaction you have for the profession. By following the tips above, you can prevent a falling out with the industry and foster a strong determination to contribute to the maritime sector as a whole.

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.

Duterte forms IMSAS Council

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.