Rise In Seafarer Numbers Puts Pressure On Filipino Maritime Training Centres

Filipino maritime schools may be under pressure from Europe to improve training standards but the country is growing as the shipping industry’s main source of seafarers.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TCUP) has announced that the country’s seafarers are set to send home around $4bn this year, up by around 12% on the previous year.

Remittances to the country made in the first six months have already surpassed $2bn and the union says the numbers sourced in the country are growing by 3,500 per month.

Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) says it is expanding its Philippines-based NYK TDG Maritime Academy. The company is adding new training facilities that are expected to be completed in 2013.

NYK president Yasumi Kudo stressed the company’s commitment to the Philippines. He said at the academy’s very first graduation ceremony: “We are looking to you to be multi-skilled seafarers who enhance NYK’s competitive strength and thus open the gateway for the next generation of seafarers from the Philippines.”

However, pressure remains on Filipino training institutes following a critical report from the European Maritime Safety Authority (Emsa) on standards in the country, which could lead to European countries no longer recognising the Philippines’ seafarers.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation is said to have written to the European Commission (EC) asking for it to conduct special inspections of ships with Fillipino crew. The letter was prompted by the union’s concerns over the Emsa report.

However, there is still uncertainty over whether the European Union (EU) will follow Emsa’s findings and no longer recognise Filipino seafarers. It is possible that individual member states will prefer to follow the findings of their own audits into Filipino schools rather than Emsa’s.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) ranking also places the Philippines on the white list.

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