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Vessel layups in Japan could cost 40,000 Philippine seamen their jobs

Tokyo: Vessel lay ups by Japanese companies may result in up to 40,000 Philippine seamen losing their jobs this year, Phillipines Labour Secretary Marianito Roque is quoted as telling reporters on Wednesday. He pointed out that 45 foreign vessels are laid up at Subic Bay, north of Manila, and in the southern Philippine port of Davao.

Crew members working on car carriers, bulk carriers and container ships are expected to be the first in the firing line as these sectors have fared particularly badly in the current economic climate.

Roque said Manila has asked Tokyo's transport ministry to help retrain displaced Philippine seamen. "This agreement would provide Philippine seafarers affected by the crisis to train and upgrade their skills while waiting for their return on board," he added.

"In the next six months, we can see more Philippine crewmen repatriated," Ericson Marquez, head of a Philippines-based group of ship-manning agencies told AFP. At least 433 container ships have been laid up worldwide due to lack of cargo, he said.
"The demand for seafarers is still there but it is only for a particular kind of ship, like tankers," he said. "If we don't have those specialties, there could be dislocation in the manning industry," he added.  [19/03/09]
 

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