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A devastating blow! EU: Filipino seafarers may be banned!

sofreight.com sofreight.com 2024-04-17 10:14:40

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The European Commission is considering banning Filipino seafarers from working on EU-flagged ships, according to a report by German news outlet Deutsche Welle. According to the newspaper, this consideration was due to the fact that over the years, maritime training for Filipino seafarers did not meet international maritime safety standards. If the EU later issues this ban, it could have a devastating blow to the Philippines, a country with a large seafaring population.


According to reports in German newspapers, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released a report in 2022 updating the list of shortcomings that the agency believes are currently in the training of Filipino seafarers. Since 2006, EMSA has been pointing out flaws in the training protocol, and the Philippine government has pledged to address the issues identified.


According to the report, the EMSA report pointed out that the training and certification provided by Philippine Maritime Education Institutions did not comply with the guidelines stipulated in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.


The Philippine government relies on private educational institutions to provide education and training for seafarers, but critics say these institutions do not provide enough funds to upgrade teaching facilities. The Philippine government countered that it has been committed to upholding these standards and that it was able to address EMSA's concerns.


New Philippine President Ferdinand de Marcos Jr. recently met with EU officials and assured them that the Philippines is committed to resolving these issues and will comply with relevant European regulations.


The Philippines is the world's largest supplier of seafarers, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Between 380,000 and 400,000 Filipino citizens work in various jobs at sea. According to some reports, the Philippines accounts for as much as a quarter of all seafarers currently working on commercial vessels.


If the European Commission adopts the EMSA report and further bans the employment of Filipino citizens on commercial ships, the EU will stop recognizing competency certificates issued by the Philippines to seafarers. Existing certificates will be recognized until they expire, but Filipino seafarers will not be allowed to apply for work on EU-flagged ships holding new or renewed certificates.


According to a report by Deutsche Welle, the European Commission may make a relevant decision by the end of the first quarter of 2023. A spokesman for the European Commission told the newspaper that the Philippines had provided detailed responses to EMSA's audit and commission experts and was analyzing the information before making a final decision.


The possible seafarer ban comes at a time when the industry is already facing the challenge of staffing shortages on ships. According to United Nations data, Russia and Ukraine were previously the second largest sources of seafarers. The war on both sides has disrupted local employment. The EU also pointed out that, in general, the industry has been difficult to attract young people to work at sea, and problems in this area urgently need to be improved.