July 6th, 2020

Philippines Tackles Crew Change Issues

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is now addressing crew change issues after the International Maritime Organization warned about possible safety issues.


MARINA Administrator Roberto A. Empedrad encouraged Filipino seafarers to “exercise their legal rights to stop working, as their overextended stay at sea poses extremely unsafe and dangerous conditions not only for themselves, but more importantly for shipping operations.”

Recently, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) allowed international ships to do crew change in various Philippine ports.

“This will be beneficial to our seafarers who can do crew change in-country and come home earlier than expected,” said Emperad.

Currently, there are around 60,000 repatriated Filipino seafarers since the COVID-19 pandemic hit various parts of the globe. But thousands remain stranded on cargo and cruise ships who are still awaiting replacement. It may still be a while before they can come home as some countries remain in lockdown.

MARINA meawnhile is currently crafting what Empedrad calls ‘pragmatic measures’ that will help the plight of Filipino seafarers. These include the extension of the validity of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for six months “to ensure continuity of service on board,” and the approval of the conduct of training and assessment of seafarers after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine in most parts of the country.


Sources: Business Mirror, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Red Cross, MARINA