MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) commit to fully comply with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers to maintain its status in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) “White List.”

The DOTr-MARINA is taking the necessary steps to consistently improve the country’s maritime education, training, examination, and assessment system.

According to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, the MARINA should do its utmost to ensure that the country’s status in the IMO remains.

“Dugo’t pawis ang puhunan ng ating mga marino sa kanilang trabaho. Hindi matatawaran ang sakripisyo at karangalang ibinibigay nila sa bayan kaya nararapat lang na dugo’t pawis din ang ipuhunan ng gobyerno upang masigurong mananatili tayo sa IMO White List. Kailangang protektahan natin ang kabuhayan at kapakanan ng ating mga marino,” Secretary Tugade said.

Independent Evaluation as Part of Continuing Compliance

Starting April 2019, a panel of international maritime experts will conduct an independent evaluation as part of the Philippines’ continuing compliance with the pertinent provisions, particularly Regulation I/8 or in the area of Quality Standards, of the International Convention on STCW, 1978, as amended.

As a State Party to the STCW Convention, the Philippines is mandated to ensure that an evaluation is periodically undertaken by qualified persons who are not involved in the implementation of this international regulatory instrument in the country.

The evaluation is aimed at providing an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the quality standard arrangements at all levels.

Meanwhile, MARINA OIC Administrator Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. is confident that the evaluation of the country’s STCW system will solidify the Philippines inclusion in the “White List” of the IMO.

“Our engagement with the professional services of independent evaluators shows our full efforts in maintaining our seafarer’s reputation worldwide as a dependable maritime workforce. We will continue to comply with IMO standards for the benefit of our seafarers,” Vice Admiral Vingson said.

The results of next month’s evaluation will form part of the regular Communication of Information of the Philippines to the IMO as required under Regulation I/7 of the Convention.

Caution against undue panic

Contrary to recent reports, the Philippines is still included in the “White List” of the IMO, signifying the nation’s compliance with international maritime standards.

This is attested by the IMO MSC Circular (MSC.1/Circ.1163/Rev.11) published on 14 December 2018.

The “White List” refers to parties confirmed by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to have communicated information that demonstrates the full and complete effect that is given to the relevant provisions of the STCW.

In a statement released on 21 March 2019, the DOTr and MARINA cautioned the public to remain vigilant against claims that the country was allegedly excluded from the IMO White List.

With proof of compliance with IMO standards, the livelihood of the country’s over 400,000 seafarers ultimately continues to be among the top priorities of the DOTr and MARINA.