Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Relief for shipping as Europe continues to recognise Filipino seafarer certs

Photo: Marcus Hand Filipino seafarers in Manila
The industry has welcomed the European Commission’s decision to continue to the certificates of some 50,000 Filipino seafarers serving on European-flagged ships.

Filipino seafarers were facing a ban from European-flagged vessels following a detailed assessment of the training and certification system in place in the Philippines in December 2021. The Commission said it would withdraw recognition of Philippines issued seafarer certificates unless serious measures were taken, including the compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW)

European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: "We appreciate the constructive cooperation with the Philippine authorities and welcome their efforts to improve the system for training and certifying seafarers”

In the coming months, the Commission intends to provide the Philippines with technical assistance to further improve its education, training and certification system for seafarer.

The threat of ban on Filipino seafarers by the EC is a long running saga dating back to a first failed audit from by European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) of the

Philippines training and certification system. A slew of failed audits in the following 15 years has led to continued uncertainty for the Filipino seafarers and the country’s crewing industry.

The Joint Manning Group (JMG) welcomed the “positive announcement” of the EC noting it will “ensure the stability of employment for Filipino seafarers”. It thanked Philippines President Ferdinand R Marcos Jnr and the Department of Migrant Workers for their personal efforts in engaging the stakeholders in the maritime industries and global shipping companies.

Manila headquartered Magsaysay Group, the world’s largest crewing agency described the decision as “Great news for all our seafarers!” in post on Twitter.

The decision by the EC was also welcomed by both the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) and International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

ECSA Secretary General Sotiris Raptis said, “This is a positive development as Filipino seafarers play a central role in European shipping and in keeping European trade moving. By engaging with the authorities of the Philippines together with our industry partners, ECSA strives to facilitate a productive dialogue between the country and the EU on matters of key importance such as seafarers’ qualifications, training and certification.”

In January the ECSA and ICS along with other industry partners and the government of the Philippines have started working together in January under the newly established International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA).

Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General added: “As a major seafaring nation, Filipino seafarers are a vital and valued part of the seafarer  workforce. This decision made by the European Commission is a testament to the Philippines’ hard work to make sure seafarer training complies with regulations. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is delighted to be convening partners to ensure these standards are maintained globally.”