The European Commission on March 31 announced its decision to continue to recognise the certificates of Filipino seafarers, confirming the compliance of the Philippines with the requirements of the STCW Convention.
Shipping bodies including ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Associations), ICS (International Chamber of Shipping) and the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) have warmly welcomed the positive development, pointing out that Filipino seafarers play a central role in global shipping and in keeping trade moving.
The decision follows the response by authorities of the Philippines to a report by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) that explored the deficiencies in the country’s standards of training and certification.
Filipino seafarers represent 14% of the global workforce in the sector and are instrumental in keeping global shipping running. Industry partners remain committed to work with the industry, seafarers’ representatives and the Filipino authorities to build continuity and sustainability in the Filipino system. For this purpose, ECSA and ICS along with other industry partners and the government of the Philippines have started working together in January under the newly established International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA).
“European shipowners welcome the recognition of the training and the certification system of the Philippines. We congratulate the country for their commitment and their in-depth response to the shortcomings identified by the Commission.” said ECSA Secretary General Sotiris Raptis.
“This is a positive development as Filipino seafarers play a central role in European shipping and in keeping European trade moving. By engaging with the authorities of the Philippines together with our industry partners, ECSA strives to facilitate a productive dialogue between the country and the EU on matters of key importance such as seafarers’ qualifications, training, and certification.”
Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General added: “As a major seafaring nation, Filipino seafarers are a vital and valued part of the seafarer workforce. This decision made by the European Commission is a testament to the Philippines’ hard work to make sure seafarer training complies with regulations.
“The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is delighted to be convening partners to ensure these standards are maintained globally. In January 2023 a new advisory committee was launched to give expert advice on major maritime issues affecting Filipino seafarers, the IACGMA, which is supported by the Philippines government and in collaboration with ECSA and industry partners. By all of us working together on these issues, we can tackle the challenges ahead for our workforce. Maintaining seafarer training standards globally ensures a brighter future for our seafarers.”
The CSC noted the contribution of ECSA and ICS in creation of IACGMA, adding that “the European Commission intends to provide, in the following months, the Philippines with technical assistance to further improve its education, training and certification system for seafarers, ensuring standards are maintained as per global regulations.”