Unions are welcoming a decision from the EU maritime watchdog which avoids up to 50,000 Philippines-certified crew being barred from working aboard European-owned ships.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) announced last week that it will continue to recognise STCW certificates (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) issued by Philippines-based training providers after the country’s president made moves to address decades-long problems with his country's seafarer training systems.
The EU had been for many years been concerned about both the quality and consistency of training, with some graduates equipped to handle modern ships and others requiring supplemental training from employers. As far back as 2006, EMSA identified deficiencies and continued to find problems in the 13 inspections it conducted since. The agency’s most recent audit, held last year, led to the country’s final warning.
“We are relieved to see EMSA pulling back from the brink with this decision and avoiding the risk of losing 50,000 of the world’s finest maritime professionals from working aboard European vessels,” said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
“I am sure that is very welcome by the European shipowners just as it is by Filipino crew, their families and their unions,” he said.
“There’s no doubt that Filipino seafarers are prized in the industry for their skill, expertise, and professionalism: there is good reason that they remain the world’s number one source of seafarers.”
“Sadly, the quality and certification systems Filipino crew need to be able to rely on, have been lacking for some time now,” said the General Secretary.