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Philippines single maritime administration: too late for EMSA?

Philippines single maritime administration: too late for EMSA?
The Philippines Congress has passed a bill that will see a single maritime authority becoming responsible for the training and certification of its seafarers as the government seeks to stave off a threatened ban on Filipino officers by the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA).

Both houses of Congress passed a bill that designates the Maritime Industrial Authority (Marina) as the single maritime administration in charge with the implementation of the 1978 STCW, and other related covenants and international agreements consistent with the requirements of EMSA.

Philippines Senate president Franklin Drilon, principal author of the bill, said it would make the country’s policies on maritime administration aligned with the requirements of STCW.

The move comes as the Philippines huge crewing industry anxiously awaits the results of EMSA’s audit of the country’s compliance with STCW carried out in October 2013. A draft report was expected to be sent to the Philippines authorities last November with publication in the early part of 2014.

If the Philippines fails the audit, the second in 2013, it could see EMSA making good on a threat, first made when the country failed an audit in 2010, to bar its officers from EU-flagged ships.

An issue central to failing the EMSA audit was the lack of a central body controlling the certification of seafarers and the monitoring of the quality of training the Philippines 94 maritime schools and academies. At least six different government bodies were in charge of the various functions.

While there have been hopeful statements coming from Philippines officials in recent weeks, there are also signs the industry is bracing itself for the worst, which would see 5,000 Filipino officers facing a ban from EU-flagged ships.

On Tuesday Intermanager issued a statement saying that ship managers should make contingency plans for any possible ban.

Intermanager president Gerardo Borromeo is also ceo of Philippines Transmarine Carriers, one of the largest crew suppliers in the Philippines.