DOTr, MARINA vow to comply with international standards on maritime education

By Ariel Fernandez

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) have committed to fully comply with International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW) for seafarers so that the country could maintain its status in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

According to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, the MARINA should do its utmost to ensure that the country’s status in the IMO remains.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade gestures during the Senate inquiry on the August 16 Xiamen Air accident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at Senate Building in Pasay city, August 29,2018. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)

Starting April, a panel of international maritime experts will conduct an independent evaluation as part of the Philippines’ continuing compliance with the pertinent provisions, particularly Regulation I/8 or in the area of Quality Standards, of the International Convention on STCW, 1978, as amended.

As a state party to the STCW Convention, the Philippines is mandated to ensure that an evaluation is periodically undertaken by qualified persons who are not involved in the implementation of this international regulatory instrument in the country.

The evaluation is aimed at providing an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the quality standard arrangements at all levels.

Meanwhile, MARINA OIC Administrator Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. said he was confident that the evaluation of the country’s STCW system will solidify the Philippines inclusion in the “White List” of the IMO.

“Our engagement with the professional services of independent evaluators shows our full efforts in maintaining our seafarer’s reputation worldwide as a dependable maritime workforce. We will continue to comply with IMO standards for the benefit of our seafarers,” Vice Admiral Vingson said.

The results of next month’s evaluation will form part of the regular Communication of Information of the Philippines to the IMO as required under Regulation I/7 of the Convention.

Contrary to recent reports, the Philippines is still included in the “White List” of the IMO, signifying the nation’s compliance with international maritime standards.

This was attested by the IMO MSC Circular (MSC.1/Circ.1163/Rev.11) published on 14 December 2018.

The “White List” refers to parties confirmed by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to have communicated information that demonstrates the full and complete effect that is given to the relevant provisions of the STCW.

In a statement released on 21 March 2019, the DOTr and MARINA cautioned the public to remain vigilant against claims that the country was allegedly excluded from the IMO White List.

With proof of compliance with IMO standards, the livelihood of the country’s over 400,000 seafarers ultimately continues to be among the top priorities of the DOTr and MARINA.