New advisory committee launched to address major maritime issues impacting Filipino seafarers


Global leaders from organisations representing seafarers, shipowners and other maritime employers signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines’s Department of Migrant Workers last week, to form the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA).

The IACGMA is composed of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

“The Philippine government through its Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) welcomes the participation of well-respected industry associations and leaders from the global shipping industry in developing our roadmap to a just transition as well as boosting the global competitiveness of Filipino seafarers across the globe,” Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said during the signing ceremony of DMW with its international partners.

The Secretary assured the IACGMA’s international partners that other relevant government agencies in the Philippines such as the Department of Transportation and its attached agency, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) have expressed support to the goals and vision of the newly formed advisory body.

The formation of the IACGMA follows a meeting that took place on 13 December 2022 where shipping industry leaders met with H.E. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, as part of his foreign policy tour in Brussels. During the meeting, President Marcos (pictured) recommended the establishment of a new advisory board to be made up of employers, shipowners and unions and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to give expert advice on major maritime issues affecting Filipino seafarers.

The creation of the IACGMA solidifies the shipping industry and Philippines government’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of its seafarers and finding solutions to the challenges ahead. Key aims of the IACGMA include contributing to the provision of appropriate training to the country’s seafarers in compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention. The IACGMA will also work to address concerns regarding ambulance chasing and unfair labour practices, and on issues related to the employability of Filipino seafarers overseas, all key areas of discussion during the group’s December meeting.