400000 Pinoy Seafarers At Risk of Losing Jobs Due to EU Ban

From Lloyds List

A potential crisis looms in the Philippine Maritime industry as more than 400,000 Filipino seafarers are at the edge of losing their certifications to sail European chartered ships. This comes as an audit conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency or EMSA indicated that Philippine maritime schools are not in compliance with the training guidelines and requirements stated in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

The European Commission will decide based on the audit. A negative decision puts Filipino competency papers at the risk of invalidation, disallowing Filipino seafarers from boarding European chartered ships and working for EU shipping companies. This ban applies to those without competency certificates. As for those who still hold these certificates, they can still work until these papers expire.

European maritime authorities have warned the Philippines repeatedly about complying with international maritime standards for years. The Maritime authority is supposed to work for this compliance. However, maritime sources say officials of the Maritime authority under the Duterte administration ignored these warnings, confident that there are enough work opportunities for Filipino seafarers in other continents, such as the Americas, Africa and Asia.

If Europe does impose the ban, this may affect the status of the Philippine seafaring industry, one of the biggest in the world, in competition with Russia. Filipino seafarers remit close to US$6.5 billion to the Philippines per year.

During the COVID pandemic crisis, Filipino seafarers stood as the most affected job sector in the country.

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