Up to half of the Philippines maritime schools may not make it to a “white list” that comply with the European Maritime Safety Ageny’s (EMSA) standards for STCW compliance and certification.
The Philippines maritime training system underwent its latest STCW audit by EMSA last week and officials are hopeful of being able to prove over the next 12 months that it has met the standards required. This would lift the threat of a ban on Filipino officers serving on EC-flagged vessels.
“Based on the feedback from our maritime authorities the visit was positive,” Gerardo Borromeo, vice chairman and ceo of Philippines Transmarine Carriers said on the sidelines of the Danish Maritime Forum.
A law enacted earlier this year brought all the functions relating to STCW under the umbrella of the Maritime Industrial Authority (Marina).
“That law allowed the Philippines to finally address once and for all the structural reform EMSA was talking about, prior that was no single body responsible for the implementation and monitoring of STCW,” he explained.
“EMSA was getting concerned the changes we were going to do weren’t happening fast enough, now with the new law in place the rationalisation of education and training is pushing forward, however, we need at least another year as law only came into effect this April.”
The results of the reforms can only be proven across the course of the academic year that runs from June for around 10 months.
As part of the reforms Marina is drawing up a white list schools that will be publically available and the number of independent auditors is being increased to 25.
“In the next few months a complete white list of the appropriate maritime academic institutions will now be in place,” Borromeo explained.
“So between having at least 25 independent auditors, and I the think the number of academic institutions will go from around 90 to half that number, coverage between auditors and schools becomes something more manageable.”
Marina is understood to have already issued notices to over 30 maritime institutes to either shape up and get their house in order or to find alternative business.
“I think over the next 12 months EMSA will realise the extent of what this new law has allowed it to do from a platform through to implementation,” he stated.