June 28th, 2013

Government sectors working together to pass second EMSA audit

Manila, Philippines – After failing the first European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) inspection, different government sectors are now working together and preparing for the next audit, which will be done in October.

Leading the way is the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), which has been tasked by President Benigno Aquino to be the sole maritime regulator through EO 75. Marina is scheduled to test a new quality standard system within the month which will be the agency’s answer to EMSA’s concern on the lack of assessors in the country’s maritime schools.

“We have developed this already but EMSA said, ‘You haven’t tested it in maritime schools.’ And that’s what we’re going to do,” expressed Marina chief Maximo Mejia, Jr.

“Our training for the most part meets the standard. But since we have a lot of training centers, training programs and college programs related to maritime, we also have too many programs of low quality or substandard, that’s the underlying problem,” adds Mejia.

Meanwhile, The Commission on Higher Education is also doing its part to help in solving the supposedly underperforming maritime schools in the country. Recently, a court has rejected some school’s Temporary Restraining Order on the closure and stoppage of some maritime courses which is a step forward for CHED’s ‘catch-up’ plan to improve the system.

Department of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario has also been alarmed by the possibility of 80,000 Filipino seafarers being banned on-board EU vessels in case the country fails the audit.

“All relevant agencies have been tasked by President Aquino to undertake what is necessary towards addressing the expressed concerns of the EMSA audit team in preparation for its October scheduled audit,” says Del Rosario.