400, 000 Pilipino seafarers may lose jobs over poor maritime safety standards.
Earlier in 2022, the EMSA specified that the training and certification in Philippine maritime education institutions fell short of guidelines mandated by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
The European Commission will ultimately decide the seafarers’ fate following the EMSA audit.
The Philippines could also end up being excluded from the International Maritime Organization’s “white list” of countries with seafarer employability.
Celia Dejond, press officer for the European Commission said that in case a withdrawal decision is adopted, existing seafarers’ certificates would only be recognized until they expire.
“Since the Philippine’s reply to the audit findings was very extensive, the European Commission services assisted by experts are still carefully analyzing it with the intention to finalize the process with a final decision possible by end of first quarter 2023,” said Dejond.
EMSA is charged with reducing the risks of maritime accidents, marine pollution from ships and loss of human lives at seaImage.
“It is so important that the country passes the European regulatory requirements. If we don’t, I fear that international companies will no longer hire from the Philippines,” said Fermin.
Nicanor Castro has crossed the waters of the globe for more than two decades. He’s been hearing about the European regulatory warnings for years and fears the possibility of suddenly not being allowed to sail.
“It shouldn’t have come to this if the government had taken the warnings seriously and acted sooner,” Castro said.
During a hearing in the Philippine Senate in October, Migrant Workers Assistant Secretary Jerome Pampolina warned that 2022 is the final year marked by EMSA for compliance and warned of a “domino effect” on other related maritime industries.
In November, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with European Union transport officials in Belgium and assured them that the government is committed to addressing the flagged deficiencies and complying with European regulations.
Officials insist the government has taken consistent measures to improve maritime training and education and has significantly reduced the number of audit findings over the years.
“We have taken considerable efforts to show the country’s compliance with international standards, such as policy revisions and issuing standards and guidelines which are aligned with outcomes-based education,” Cindy Benitez-Jaro, executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, declared.
The Philippines could end up being excluded from the International Maritime Organization’s ‘whitelist
“As for expectations, we are always hoping for the best,” he said.
Labor rights groups have slammed the government response as “Band-Aid solutions.”
“The government has depended on private educational institutions to provide maritime education, but has not provided them with sufficient subsidies to upgrade their facilities to align with international standards,” said Edwin Dela Cruz, who oversees seafarer concerns for rights group Migrante International.
“The government makes so much money from seafarers. They need to at least provide them with up-to-date training and not stopgap measures.”
The Philippines is the world’s largest provider of seafarers.
An estimated 380,000 Filipino seafarers, or over a quarter of all global merchant shipping crew members, are deployed on domestic or foreign-flagged shipping vessels.
Figures from the Philippine Central Bank show that in 2021, Filipino seafarers sent home an estimated $6.54 billion (€6.15 billion) in remittances.
Filipino seafarers were among those most impacted by pandemic-related lockdowns, border closures and lack of international flights which left hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded at sea, unable to be replaced or repatriated.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, about 50,000 Filipino seafarers had been brought back home. According to government data, the deployment of seafarers has only begun to return to normal last year.
“Seafarers — including Filipinos — have already suffered a lot during COVID. Further employment difficulties are not really what they need,” Jan Hoffmann, head of trade logistics at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said.
Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works
“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.
“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.
NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
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