2019 MET Conference hosted by MARINA

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), in partnership with the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU), hosted the 2019 Maritime Education and Training (MET) Conference and Workshop in Manila last February 21-22, 2019. This was done to manifest trends in maritime training in the Philippines into assets for the industry in the country.

More than 200 representatives hailing from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs), maritime training centers (MTCs), seafarer groups, research and course developers, instructors, and agencies were welcomed by MARINA Officer-in-Charge Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. and IAMU Executive Director Takeshi Nakazawa.

These representatives took part in discussions about maritime training trends and the future of it from 2020 onwards. Innovations in education of Filipino seafarers and how it’s affecting the development of their skills were also discussed.

Global Maritime Education and Training (GlobalMET) Chairman Capt. Pradeep Chawla was one of the speakers who shared insights. He affirmed that the Philippines will continue being one of the top suppliers of capable seafarers in the next ten years.

Because of this, he emphasized the need for the Philippines to keep up with the latest advancements in maritime education. This is by improving teaching methods through digitization and gamification. Through these methods, Chawla expressed that future seafarers from the country may have greater abilities and skills. They can process a larger amount of data, focus better on pertinent issues, handle significant stress, be more assertive, and work effectively with remote teams.

Chawla also pinpointed the necessity for active seafarers to continue learning so they can become maritime instructors and trainers in the future.

Aside from this, MARINA’s 10-year maritime industry development plan (MIDP) was presented, including emphasis on the requirements for manpower to implement the MIDP’s eight priority programs.

IAMU also brought in Engr. Johan Ljungklint, Dr. Damir Zec, Mr. Vlado Fracic, and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Son to facilitate the open forum of the conference. The forum discussed lots of pertinent issues. These included the future of the shipping industry in the presence of autonomous and/or smart ships, and the development in maritime training through digitization. Cyber security and the expectations in maritime instructors were also key talking points.

The event ended with the commitment to forward and enhance the state of maritime training in the Philippines.

The MET Conference first came to fruition in 2016 because of a memorandum of cooperation between MARINA and IAMU. This was done to provide a means of discourse on how to advance maritime training in the Philippines.


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.

Why The Internet Is A Seaman’s Best Friend

The Internet has benefited a lot of people with its convenience and far-reaching capabilities to connect everybody and find information easily. This is especially true in the case of seafarers. The Internet makes the otherwise routinary lives of maritime professionals easier to deal with. Here are some of the ways the Internet is a seaman’s best friend.

Easier to contact loved ones

Hiring and retention of skilled crews are one of the biggest obstacles facing the industry. Today’s generation of seamen look for ways to be connected all the time and not having Internet access can be quite trying for them. With the Internet, seafarers can contact their loved ones more conveniently, while also boosting employee retention significantly. This gives seafarers peace of mind that they have a way to check on their friends and families easily.

For monitoring fuel usage

Another reason why the Internet is a seaman’s best friend is that they can address problems of fuel consumption easier. Oftentimes, ships do not have technical expertise available on board to address the problem.  Having Internet access can alert engineers on the shore of a problem, which allows them to offer a solution quicker. In these cases, it’s important to quickly determine if a ship is burning the right amount of fuel and if it is almost exceeding its allowed fuel consumption. Not having Internet access can prevent quick action.

For health and safety emergency purposes

The working conditions of a seafarer include two risks: poor health and endangerment due to piracy and other threats. Having Internet access can help the people on board consult physicians on shore to determine the best course of action for any medical emergencies. At the same time, Internet access can also help alert law enforcement of any potential piracy threats through surveillance.

More efficient navigation

Internet access in a ship means up-to-the-minute, precise routing, and weather information. This helps both seafarers on board and personnel figure out where the ship is in astonishing detail, then transmit information back to land. This is important in case any of the emergency situations when the ship needs to be tracked.

For better working conditions and mental health

Professor Helen Sampson of Cardiff University’s Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC) mentioned in an interview with Rappler the ways that the Internet was changing life on board and emphasized its positive effects on mental health. Sampson said, “A ship is a very expensive piece of equipment and you really don’t want people who are psychologically unstable. And it’s a very difficult life. If there’s no psychological compensation to the seafarers, I think you’ve got a lot of mental instability and it’s dangerous.” Having Internet access helps keep seafarers sane amid the routine of their work and the distance from their loved ones.

Additionally, Sampson highlighted the importance of having other social spaces and entertainment facilities to keep seafarers entertained and so they can have other forms of pleasure aside from their mobile devices and laptops.

Despite all of the benefits of Internet access on a ship, it’s still not implemented en masse. This is partly due to the cost needed to implement such a feature. However, considering the benefits it has on seafarers both mentally and professionally, a lot of shipping companies should highly consider giving this to their employees. This way, their maritime training in the Philippines will be worth it because they can enjoy these perks as a reward for the hard conditions their job entails.

Being A Good Maritime Trainee

Before you get approved to go on board a ship and begin your maritime career, you have to undergo maritime training in the Philippines to prepare for your job. A maritime career entails a lot of duties after all, so it’s best to train properly.

Much like in college, you need to be a good trainee to make sure you make the most out of your training in the Philippines. While it’s not necessary to pass with flying colors, it doesn’t hurt to be responsible and diligent in your training so that you can leave an impression as a remarkable student. Here are the ways to do it.

Pay attention to your training sessions

Like any other good student, you need to listen intently when your instructors are discussing the lessons or demonstrating certain equipment. It may seem boring especially when they’re explaining the technical aspects, but this is the time when you need to listen the most. Doing this can help greatly should maritime companies test your knowledge or even when you’re at work. It’s also a sign of respect to your instructor and a good quality to build from the get-go.

Avoid absences as much as possible

As the maritime courses offered by institutions typically only last for 1-6 days, absences are not recommended. Not only do absences mean you’ll miss certain lessons, but the limited time for each course also reduces the time you need to learn. In maritime courses, you only have days before a certain course is completed. If you can help it, attend your courses on time so you don’t miss anything important and to foster the good practice of always being present.

Review diligently and take notes

Part of being a good trainee is listening and taking notes.  Keeping your notes, as well as getting your hands on any relevant reading materials, can be a huge help when you start working since you have a quick reference when faced with certain issues at work that may require technical knowledge.

Be inquisitive and participatory

The reason you’re training is that you are still lacking information and the skills needed to be an efficient seafarer. Asking questions and being curious is part of that deal, so don’t be afraid to ask your instructor and participate in discussions. They will even appreciate having such an active student in the ranks.

Being a good trainee can help make your maritime career journey much smoother for both you and your trainers. As much as possible, be the best trainee you can be to make your maritime training in the Philippines worthwhile. This includes enrolling in a training institution with a proven track record of producing efficient seafarers and maritime professionals.