Philippines asserts position in IMO White List

 MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Philippines, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), asserted its position in the revised “White List” of Parties to the STCW Convention prepared by the Secretariat of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), through an intervention during the 6th session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW6) held at the IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom from 29 April to 03 May 2019.
During the Sub-Committee’s session on 30 April, the Philippine delegation, together with delegations from other Parties of the STCW Convention, raised issues and questions to the Sub-committee and the IMO Secretariat regarding the sudden review and reparation of a draft revised White List, the procedures of the said review, and the criteria for issuance of a revised list.
According to Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Officer-in-Charge Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr., no white list has been officially issued by the IMO excluding the Philippines. But, to thresh out issues and concerns, the creation of a ‘Working Group’ was agreed upon, so as to review the consistency of evaluation, and the competency of those who would review. 
“First, I would like to clarify that the IMO has not issued a “White List” which does not include the Philippines. Nonetheless, it was agreed upon in one of the sessions that a TWG be established to work on all issues raised,” Vice Admiral Vingson said.
“The positive developments were attained due to the effort, commitment and support of the entire team,” Vingson added.
For his part, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed the recent development, and challenged the MARINA to exert all the necessary efforts to prepare for the independent evaluation, which is part of the Philippines’ compliance as a Party to the STCW Convention.
In fact, before the delegation left for London, Secretary Tugade has directed the MARINA to ensure the country’s compliance with IMO standards to firmly secure the livelihood of thousands of Filipino seafarers.
“This is good news for our maritime industry and the entire country. May this be treated as a challenge so that the MARINA and other concerned agencies perform at their best to prepare accordingly for the Independent Evaluation. We need to make sure that we will exert all the necessary efforts, commitment and support to make this next mission successful,” Secretary Tugade said.
“Trabaho at kinabukasan ng libu-libong marino at kani-kanilang mga pamilya ang nakasalalay dito. Sa katunayan, buong Pilipinas ang umaasa sa atin. Kailangang siguraduhin natin na hindi sila mabibigo,” Tugade added.
In response, VAdm Vingson reaffirmed MARINA’s unwavering commitment to do its utmost to maintain the country’s status in the IMO White List.
“We accept the challenge of the Secretary. Rest assured that the MARINA remains fully committed to steadily sustain the Philippines’ full compliance with the STCW Convention. We will continue to do everything we can to maintain our status in the IMO White List,” the MARINA OIC Administrator said.
“All necessary steps to consistently improve the country’s maritime education, training, examination, and assessment system are being undertaken and prioritized,” Vingson added.
The so-called “White List” refers to a list of parties confirmed by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to have communicated information that demonstrates full and complete effect to the relevant provisions of the STCW.
Earlier this year, there have been false reports stating the Philippines’ alleged exclusion from the IMO White List, which unfortunately generated undue panic to over 400,000 seafarers and their families.
The Philippine delegation to the HTW6 that delivered the intervention was headed by MARINA OIC Administrator Narciso Vingson Jr., together with other MARINA representatives from the STCW Office, Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Association of Maritime Training Centers, Inc. (PAMTCI), and the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP).

MARINA hosts training, write-shop for IMSAS 2021

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – To further improve the implementation of international standards in the country’s maritime industry, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) hosted another training course and write-shop for auditors under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS).

On 22-27 April 2019, training expert from IMO and the International Maritime Safety Security Environment Academy (IMSSEA) Mourad Ghorbel, discussed the roles and responsibilities of the audit team, the audit preparation and processes among others. He also trained the auditors in recognizing and resolving potential challenges that may be encountered during the audit processes.

The two-day write-shop on 29-30 April 2019, on the other hand, is allotted for the drafting of the country’s pre-audit questionnaire and national maritime strategy to ensure that its international obligations and responsibilities as a flag, port and coastal State are met.

MARINA Officer-in-Charge Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr believed that the continuous support of various government agencies in the country’s preparation for the IMSAS audit in 2021 is vital in the enhancement of the Philippine maritime industry.

“Let us work together in concretizing our actions and schemes to enhance maritime safety, ensure marine environment protection, and effectively implement mandatory IMO instruments that guide our ship operations into complying with international standards,” Vice Admiral Vingson said.

The training course is participated by representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

The IMO conducts IMSAS to provide member states, such as the Philippines, with comprehensive and objective assessment on the implementation and enforcement of mandatory IMO instruments pertaining to safety of life at sea, prevention of pollution from ships, regulations for preventing collisions at sea, load lines, and tonnage measurement of ships and standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.


Revised policies on two maritime educational programs now due for final CHED approval

MANILA – In line with the continuous improvement of maritime education, training, and certification system in the Philippines, two maritime educational programs are now due for final approval of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) en banc.

This follows the final revisions made by the Technical Panel for Maritime Education (TPME), comprised of representatives from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), CHED, as well as officials from the industry and the academe, on the proposed revised policies, standards, and guidelines (PSG) on the conduct of the Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) and the Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE).

The proposed revised PSG underwent public consultations and deliberations during the TPME meetings. Specifically, maritime stakeholders deliberated on provisions concerning the authority to operate of maritime higher educational institutions (MHEIs), as well as the application and verification processes, and the minimum requirements prior to the granting of permit and recognition. The sanctions against unauthorized MHEIs are also provided under the proposed revised PSG. 

Further, maritime stakeholders discussed the conduct of regular curriculum review and internal evaluation to ensure continued compliance of MHEIs with the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for (STCW) Seafarers Convention 1978, as amended.

The MARINA is working double-time to improve the existing PSG on BSMT and BSMarE to maintain the Philippines’ status as one of the top sources of competent seafarers who, apart from manning and leading internationally-flagged vessels, also contributed approximately PhP300 billion worth of remittance in 2017. 

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has expressed its full support to the MARINA in beefing up the competence of Filipino maritime manpower, guided by the STCW Convention 1978, as amended, pursuant to its mandate as the single maritime administration under Executive Order No. 63. 

“I commend the MARINA for its efforts to uphold our position in the international maritime community by ensuring uncompromising compliance with international laws and conventions. There is no better time than now to further promote the welfare and enhance the proficiency of Filipino seafarers as we recognize their invaluable contribution to the national economy,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said. 

MARINA Officer-in-Charge Vice Admiral Narciso A Vingson Jr likewise encouraged maritime stakeholders to remain committed in establishing a conducive learning environment and providing quality learning experience to aspiring Filipino seafarers for the overall development of the Philippine maritime industry. 

“Let us keep our passion burning for the continued improvement of the industry. Our Filipino seafarers remain to be our prime assets, so we should not waver in our efforts to continually raise their competence,” Vice Admiral Vingson added.