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Philippines seafaring industry undergoing key EMSA audit for STCW

The Philippines has started to undergo a key audit by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to finally determine whether the country’s standards of seafarer training meet those of the STCW code

The latest audit takes place from 24 February to 15 March and as with previous audits a threat of banning Filipino EU flagged ships hangs over the nation that is the world’s largest supplier of seafarers to international shipping.

The last EMSA audit conducted in March 2017 found some 42 areas of concern and the Philippines authorities were required to submit three separate reports showing how these had been addressed.

In November 2019 Philippines Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Vice Admiral Narciso Vingzon Jr said they had addressed the concerns from EMSA and submitted the reports required.

According local press reports the audit will include visits to Marina, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), three assessment centres and nine maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs) located in Manila, Zambales, Cebu, Tagbilaran, and Iloilo areas.

A failure by the Philippines to pass the audit could see a long-threatened ban on some 30,000 Filipino officers serving on European-flagged ships. The process has dragged on for some 15 years since the Philippines failed an EMSA STCW audit over the standards of the countries training institutes in 2006.

The Philippines has a huge privately-run seafarer training industry that churns out 25,000 to 30,000 graduates of who only 20% ever serve at sea on an international vessel.

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