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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Japanese firms vow to hire PHL seafarers despite EMSA issues

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DESPITE concerns raised by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on the quality of the country’s seafarer training standards, Japanese firms have committed to continue to hire Filipino sailors.

In a press statement, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) disclosed the assurance was made by the Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA) during its meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday.

“The Filipino seafarers play a big role. So having all said, Filipino seafarers are essential to the Japanese shipping industry. And so we sincerely and strongly hope that there will continue to be a steady supply of professional and well-trained Filipino seafarers to work alongside us,” said Junichiro Ikeda, JSA president and chairman of the Mitsui OSK Lines in the meeting.

The country is currently facing scrutiny from EMSA due to deficiencies in its compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention.

About 50,000 Filipino seafarers working in European vessels are at risk of losing their jobs if the country fails to address the concerns of EMSA.

Ikeda said they are confident the country will be able to improve the quality of its Filipino seafarers.

“We also expect that quality standard of the Filipino seafarers [will] continue to improve, as the Philippine government continues to work hard to achieve this,” Ikeda said.

Marcos said he hopes other international shipping associations will emulate JSA’s example in continuing to hire Filipino seafarers.

For his part, Marcos said the government will continue its coordination with JSA to ensure the quality of seafarers, who will board Japanese ships.

“The JSA has the assurance of the Philippine government that we will continue to work together as a team, as partners, in ensuring that your requirements for more seafarers shall be met because, clearly, you care for them very much and they are in good hands while under your employment,” Marcos said.

He also lauded Japanese shipowners for their continued investments in a maritime training schools in Canlubang, Laguna and Bataan, which each could accommodate 1,200 cadets per year.

The PCO said an average of 6,600 Filipino seafarers per year are deployed to vessels with the Japanese flagged ships in the past 10 years.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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