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Make contingencies if EMSA bans Filipino officers: Intermanager

Make contingencies if EMSA bans Filipino officers: Intermanager
Despite positive reports from Filipino sources on the progress of improvements, Intermanager suggested ship managers take sensible precautions relating to a potential ban of Filipino officers by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) EU-flagged ships.

EMSA first threatened to ban Filipino officers from EU-flagged ships in 2010 after a follow-up audit on a 2006 audit found recommendations on STCW compliance had not been implemented. Last year the Philippines was audited twice by EMSA in what was seen as a last chance for the Philippines authorities to avoid a ban on its officers serving on EU-flagged vessels.

The association called for ship managers to ensure that Filipino officers' certificates of competency (COC) extend for as long as possible. The five-year validity of an extended COC should protect the officers, as the EU has suggested existing COCs will not be affected by any future ban.

Officers holding COCs that extend through any ban and its resolution will be largely unaffected. The association used the example of Georgia which, when it was the subject of a ban, managed to clear it up within two years.

Intermanager president Gerardo Borromeo commented: "The message we are giving out as responsible ship managers is that our primary duty is to ensure that ships continue to sail safely and efficiently, which means we will put the right people onboard these ships and, in the case of Filipinos, we will work with the right crewing institutions and entities to ensure these officers are properly trained and certificated."

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