MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is working round-the-clock addressing non-conformities and observations in the recently conducted first stage of the Independent Evaluation (IE) by a panel of international experts that assessed the Philippine implementation of the International Convention on Standards of Training and Certification (STCW) for seafarers 1978, as amended while rallying maritime industry stakeholders for support in order to ensure the continued inclusion of the Philippines in the so called IMO White List.

The Philippines engaged the services of highly technical experts to undertake this independent evaluation. As a State Party to the STCW Convention for seafarers 1978 as amended, the Philippines is required to undertake the Independent Evaluation process as the first step towards IMO White Listing. The IE has to be undertaken periodically every five (5) years.

The first stage of the IE was carried out from 30 March to 10 April 2022. Visits were conducted on the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), three (3) Maritime Higher Educational Institutions (MHEIs), two (2) Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs), and two (2) Assessment Centers nationwide.

The evolving list of IMO Member States found to have given full and complete effect currently includes the Philippines. Hence, it is crucial to show our continued compliance with the STCW Convention and Code for the employment of our Filipino seafarers onboard ships in the international trade.

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To ensure inclusion of the Philippines in the IMO White List, the MARINA calls on the support of partner agencies and maritime industry players in addressing the IE findings as some corrective actions may require policy shifts.
It is then to the best interest of the country if the Philippines as a Member of the Council Category “C” of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and home to hundreds of thousands of maritime professionals to fully and effectively demonstrate its compliance with the Convention.

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In accordance with Convention, the Philippines shall ensure that an independent evaluation of the knowledge, understanding, skills and competence acquisition, assessment activities and the administration of the certification system is conducted at intervals of not more than five (5) years.

The Independent Evaluation is aimed at verifying that “all applicable provisions of the STCW Convention and Code were covered by a Quality Management System.”

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Upon the completion of its Independent Evaluation, the Philippines through the MARINA shall prepare a consolidated report on the results of the evaluation and the steps taken to implement any subsequent mandatory amendments to the Convention and Code for submission to the IMO Secretary-General.

The IMO Secretary-General will designate competent persons from the list maintained to consider the report and provide their views upon the submission of the Philippine report.

After completing the review on the report, the competent persons shall, on a confidential basis, provide their view in writing to the Secretary-General.

In the event that the competent persons are unable to reach an affirmative conclusion, the competent persons should seek additional information or clarifications from the Philippines, through the Secretary-General, to assist them to reach their conclusion.

In return, the Secretary-General, taking into account the views expressed by the competent persons, shall submit a timely report to the Maritime Safety Committee when the information received from the competent persons confirms that “full and complete effect” is given to the provisions of the STCW Convention

The Maritime Safety Committee, having received the reports of the Secretary-General, shall, at the earliest possible time, identify those Parties which have satisfied the requirements of the Convention and the Code. These State Parties will comprise the so-called IMO White List.

As the premier provider of maritime professionals in the international seaborne trade, the Philippines attaches great importance to continuing inclusion of the IMO White List and this can only be achieved if the noted non-conformities and observations in the Independent Evaluation report are fully addressed so it can submit its report to the IMO Secretary-General.