MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has completed the submission of its proofs of compliance with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) that aim to close the gap of its noted areas of improvement in the country’s maritime education, training and certification system of Filipino seafarers.

Before 31 October 2018, the MARINA officially transmitted the remaining pieces of evidence and corrective actions that the Philippines has implemented in addressing the findings noted in the European Commission (EC) Assessment Report on the country’s maritime education, training, and certification system conducted in March 2017.

These include amended legislations, inter-agency cooperation initiatives, and good governance measures on the administration of maritime education and training programs, assessment of seafarer competence, and the issuance of Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW) certificates.

Part of the major actions taken by the MARINA was the extensive review and revision of seven (7) existing national legislations and the development of six (6) training course packages, all ready for implementation.

The MARINA also cited its active collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), specifically in reviewing the existing policies, standards, and guidelines governing the Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSME) programs, as well as in evaluating the compliance of maritime higher educational institutions (MHEIs) on the trainings and courses offered to aspiring Filipino mariners.

Moreover, the MARINA highlighted in its submission Executive Order No. 63, series of 2018 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations as a manifestation of the government’s resolve to strengthen its authority as the single maritime administration in giving full and complete effect to the STCW Convention in the Philippines.

MARINA OIC Vice-Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. is confident that the agency’s proactive approach in responding to the challenges on the country’s maritime education, training, and certification system will ensure the continuous recognition of STCW certificates of Filipino marine officers and country’s provision of leadership to EU-flagged vessels.

“This is how confident, serious, and committed we are in dealing with the EMSA issue. Failure is not in our options,” Vice-Admiral Vingson said.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has intensified its efforts to prepare for the Independent Evaluation on the country’s implementation of the STCW Convention by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The demonstration that the Philippines has given full and complete effect to the STCW Convention assures that the country will remain in the IMO white list, which means that Filipino seafarers and Philippine-registered ships trading international waters are assured of seamless movement from one port to another.

MARINA OIC Vice-Admiral Vingson has already constituted a Task Force on STCW Mandatory Independent Evaluation which will be responsible for the conduct of an Internal Audit / Self-Assessment on Philippine compliance before the actual conduct of the said Independent Evaluation between January to March in 2019.

The Philippines targets to submit its compliance report with the STCW Convention to the IMO on or before September 2019.