November 8th, 2013

EMSA set to release Ph audit result this month

Manila, Philippines - The Philippines is now keeping its fingers crossed after the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) wrapped up its second maritime audit in October. According to reports, EMSA will release the result of the audit by mid-November.

Thousands of Filipino seafarer’s jobs will be on the line once EMSA releases its final findings. The said audit is the third for the Philippines since 2010. This, after EMSA threatened to ban Filipino seafarers from EU-flagged ships as the Philippines failed to act on a recommendation from a previous Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers compliance back in 2006.

Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Maximo Mejia, Jr. says EMSA’s latest visit checked the progress of the country regarding the issues raised during their previous audit in April of this year. Among them are the supposed sub-standard maritime courses.

Mejia says, although a national quality standard system on maritime education, certification and training has already been developed, this has yet to be fully implemented in all maritime schools in the Philippines.

“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 of low quality or substandard (courses),” explained Mejia.

Currently, there are 93 maritime colleges and 104 maritime training centers in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Belgium Victoria Bataclan expressed optimism on the result of the audit.  She also clarified that in case the Philippines fails to pass the final audit, a ban will only be imposed on Filipino seafarers employed in EU Vessels, which is around 20% of the estimated 80, 000 Filipino maritime workers worldwide.