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 Aiming For World-Class Ship Registry

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has expressed their plans to attract more foreign ship owners to register their ships in the Philippines. MARINA Officer-in-Charge Vice-Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. said that MARINA would be strengthening the Philippine Ship Registry as part of the 10-year Maritime Industry Plan (MIDP). Previously, the ship registry in the Philippines stood at only 116 compared to 467 in 1988.

MARINA’s 10-year MIDP seeks to address concerns in the country’s maritime sector, such as the state of training in the Philippines, the status of the country’s ship registry and the like, through integrated and holistic programs for the long-term.

One of MARINA’s eight priority programs is the establishment of a maritime industrial hub to promote the country’s flag registry. MARINA has organized workshops and meetings with private stakeholders to discuss and resolve the challenges of the Philippine Ship Registry. They’ve stated that good administration, infrastructure, and fiscal issues were key to attracting ship owners to register.

Aside from this, MARINA has also conducted regular bi-annual meetings to review the situation of the overseas shipping sector. Their strategy involved recommending changes to the legal framework. Through their efforts, two house bills were approved:

  • HB 1288 or “An Act providing for the registration of ships and incentives therefore and other purpose,” and
  • HB 1286 or “An Act providing for the full and effective implementation and enforcement of international maritime instruments of which Philippines is a State party.”

These laws were made to bolster the Philippine Ship Registry. It also aimed to improve the implementation of rules for maritime safety and security, and the protection of the maritime environment.

HB 1288 states that for the growth of the country’s economy, “a strong and competitive merchant marine fleet, owned and controlled by Filipinos or corporate entities established in the Philippines, manned by qualified Filipino officers and crew, and serving as a springboard for other maritime-related economic activities” is what’s needed.

Expanding on this, author of HB 1288 Rep. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat says, “Our vested interest in seafaring demands that we have a fleet for our seafarers. We can only expand our fleet if we can provide a legal framework that will encourage and allow ship owners to enter into long-term vessel acquisition, development, modernization and expansion programs, and provide avenues for foreign ship owners hiring Filipino crew to consider the Philippine registry as a competitive registry for their ships.”

If passed, these bills will help update our maritime laws to be in line with international maritime convention and practices.

(Manila Times)

MARINA presents maritime plan to International Maritime Organization

With the goal of making the Philippines a globally competitive maritime nation, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has submitted the maritime development roadmap to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The maritime industry development program (MIDP), spanning different projects within a period of 10 years, was presented to IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim last November 23 at the IMO Council meeting in London.

Narciso Vingson Jr., Officer-In-Charge of MARINA, emphasized the major programs under the MIDP, which includes the following: development of an international maritime hub, development of a coastal and inland waterway transport system, improvement of Philippine maritime safety, and establishment of a maritime information management and technology center.

MARINA is mandated under Presidential Decree No. 474, series of 1974 to prepare and formulate the MIDP.

Aside from this, Vingson also met with representatives from the European Commission (EC). Vingson relayed updates on the implementation of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers 1978, as amended. MARINA had also revised seven of its old Circulars in alignment with the STCW Convention. This was done to address the rise in standards for certifications.

As for the training in the Philippines implemented by MARINA, they had been previously enhanced once the refresher course for advanced firefighting, the four mandatory training courses on passenger ships, and the electro-technical officer’s course were approved.

MARINA had developed their internal processes in accordance with their quality management system. This system sparked the establishment of an information technology support system whose purpose is to evaluate and monitor maritime education and training in Philippine institutions. MARINA had also issued a joint memorandum alongside the Commission on Higher Education that made MARINA, through STCW organization, the main evaluator of maritime education programs.

MARINA also conveyed their appreciation for nations that employ Filipino seafarers, thanking them for supporting the Philippines in producing competent seafarers ready for the international stage.

On MARINA’s efforts to produce the MIDP, Lim has expressed a positive outlook on the future of the Philippine maritime industry. Lim also lauded the efforts of MARINA to formulate the programs and plans in the MIDP.

(The Manila Times)

MARINA prepares final touches for ten-year maritime development initiative

The government’s decade-long maritime development program is nearing completion. The program is an initiative to serve as the fundamentals of reaching higher growth in the Philippines’ maritime industry across different sectors.

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Planning and Policy Service Director Emmanuel Carpio stated that his group has reviewed and finalized priority programs with result frameworks of the agenda “highlighting the impacts, indicators and target outcomes relative to: the planned establishment of the maritime industrial hub, the Marina’s role in the development of the Philippine nautical system, as well as the country’s coastal and inland waterways, fishing, maritime tourism, maritime safety, maritime security, and maritime information and communication.”

He added that he and his group will submit the primer of the program to MARINA top management the week after for further refinement.

Carpio said that the plans of MARINA in the past were either short or indefinite plans that did not reflect the mandate of MARINA as a maritime organization. Thus, they have to commit to the mandate and pursue said mandate’s objectives. This is through preparing and annually updating a 10-year maritime industry development program that has a rational and integrated development of the maritime industry.

According to MARINA administrator Leonardo B. Guerrero, the blueprint for both promotional and developmental maritime industry-related activities is expected to be finished within the year. It covers four sectors: domestic shipping, overseas shipping, maritime manpower, and shipbuilding and repair. It also includes emerging subsectors: maritime tourism, fishing, and logistics. This project is sure to change the industry as a whole, including the training in the Philippines for maritime professions.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, a governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan, has also extended assistance to MARINA in drafting the road map for the development project of the maritime industry.

The road map, required of MARINA under Presidential Decree 474 of 1974, is expected to include globally proven strategies on how to further grow each sector and subsector of the maritime industry. It will also contain revitalized and reengineered strategic directions and action plans responsive to existing conditions. Through this, the maritime industry can be prepared for future challenges, both in the domestic and global field.


Maritime Industry Raises Alarm Over Decrease in Deployed Filipino Seafarers

With the drop in number of Filipino seafarers deployed in international shipping vessels, the local maritime industry has raised alarm among professionals. This is after the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) reported that the deployment of sea-based Filipino workers had decreased at around 65,000 in 2017, as compared to 2016. It was also reported that there were only 378,072 Filipino seafarers deployed in 2017, in contrast to the 442,820 in 2016. This amounts to a decrease of 64,748 seafarers.

Nelson Ramirez, president of globally-recognized union United Filipino Seafarers (UFS), commented that this decrease is not a mere abstraction but the reality of the situation. He viewed the situation as 64,748 unemployed seafarers with families and livelihoods at risk. Ramirez also expressed worry that the decrease in deployment may continue in the coming years due to the slowdown in global shipping and loss of principals and shipowners.

Maritime industry leaders also attribute the drop to the increase of ambulance chasers. Ambulance chasing happens when seafarers seek compensation based on false claims of injury. The prevalence of this scheme has discouraged foreign shipowners from hiring Filipino seafarers. Because these settlements cost millions of pesos, foreign employers prefer hiring seafarers from other countries.

President and CEO of CF Sharp Crew Management, Miguel Rocha, claimed that his agency lost 1,000 job vacancies abroad due to ambulance chasing schemes. He added that while Filipino seafarers are known for their trustworthiness, good communication and skills, and industriousness, things have become different because of recent events.

Cargo Safeway Inc.’s Captain Rey Casareo inferred that manning agencies are likely to lose $49 million in revenues by 2019, if ambulance chasers remain unchecked.

On solving the issue, Ramirez called on the Senate and the Congress to acknowledge the situation to prevent job losses. Ramirez explained, “We cannot afford to give way to the emerging markets of our counterparts what we have sown in the worldwide maritime business. Congress and Senate should formulate an enduring response to this problem—a bill that would defend our partners so our lifeblood will be preserved and protected.”

Letting these ambulance chasers run rampant may negatively affect the career prospects of numerous potential seafarers training in the Philippines. Corrective actions must be done to prevent further decrease in deployments. Trainees and future seafarers must also follow rules and regulations and never take part in ambulance chasing. It doesn’t only take technical skills to be a great seafarer, one must also have the right values and ethics.

(Manila Bulletin)