PHL welcomes EU decision on Filipino seafarers; passing EU audit means 50,000 Filipino seafarers can stay in EU ships


The Philippine government welcomed the European Commission’s decision to continue to recognize the certificates of Filipino seafarers, and vowed to continue working on other areas for improvement in the maritime sector.

File photo: A large group of Filipino seafarers attend a pre-boarding briefing at the Maritime Industry Authority in Manila.

In a statement on Saturday, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista said the government is “deeply elated” by the move of the commission, which cited the country’s “serious efforts” to comply with international seafarer standards.

“I have personally reported to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that more than 49,000 Filipino marine officers and their families here in the Philippines stand to gain from this decision,” Bautista said.

“As the European Commission lauded our cooperation and welcomed our efforts at improving the Philippine system of training and certifying Filipino seafarers, we commit to address the remaining areas identified that require further improvement,” he said.

The DOTr vowed to continuously find solutions to issues raised by the EC amid the latter’s recognition of the country’s maritime training and certification system.

“Rest assured we will not waver in our efforts to raise the level of expertise of our seamen to international standards,” Bautista said.

The EC’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport on March 31 extended its recognition of Philippine-issued seafarers certificates, saying Manila has made “serious efforts” to address deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment.

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople thanked the EC for recognizing the significant efforts being made by the Marcos administration to comply with the requirements under the International Convention on STCW for seafarers.

Ople commended DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista for his work towards accelerating reforms in the maritime sector.

The EC in December 2021 notified the Philippines of several deficiencies in its seafarers’ education system, prompting it to initiate the withdrawal procedure for the recognition of Philippine-issued STCW certificates for masters and officers – a decision that would have cascaded to its 27 member-states.

Some of the deficiencies found are in the areas of monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment; examination and assessment of competence; program and course design and approval; availability and use of training facilities and simulators; on-board training; and issue, revalidation, and registration of certificates and endorsements.

The Philippine government has since boosted efforts to address these gaps. The European Commission lauded the Philippines for these steps, and pledged additional technical assistance to improve education and training of local seafarers.

With reports from CNN PHL and PNA


Image credits: Nonie Reyes