BBM eyes strong Marina

Strengthening the regulatory functions of the Maritime Industry Authority is now among the Marcos administration’s legislative priorities.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Mark Llandro Mendoza has revealed that Marcos’ list of priority legislations announced during his first State of the Nation Address includes the amendment of Republic Act 10635 which designates Marina as the country’s sole implementer and enforcer of the 1978 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Convention as amended.

The development follows last week’s Senate hearing on the status of the Philippines’ compliance with the international regulation on merchant mariners.

Senator Raffy Tulfo reminded officials of Marina invited to the hearing that the President has ordered them to look at the “root of the problem” of STCW compliance that has been hounding maritime regulators for the past 10 years.

Tulfo was referring the to the European Maritime Safety Agency’s audit report on the Philippines.

“This EMSA Audit report is not okay as told by the President. He is not happy because this has been a perennial problem. You must do this or else,” Tulfo warned.

The Marina representative who attended the Senate hearing via Zoom, Presca Lugo, told senators that the agency is preparing the documents on compliance.

Lugo also assured the Senate panel that the country has not failed an EMSA inspection.

“In fact, in 2006 they had raised 158 findings, and we were able to correct them until their last visit to us in 2020, wherein the findings were trimmed down to at least 20,” Lugo said.

Earlier, Marina Administrator Hernani Fabia said the agency has been doing a series of consultations with various industry stakeholders to come up with proposals and recommendations on correcting 15 STCW non-conformities identified in an independent evaluation, as well as numerous observations in the country’s implementation of the convention.

If the maritime regulator fails to rectify the non-conformities, the Philippines may be delisted from the Whitelist of the International Maritime Organization which may cost Filipino seafarers their jobs.
Seafarers from countries excluded from the list can lead to their ship being denied entry to a port, inspected intensely or detained.

Independent evaluators scrutinized Marina, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Health, three maritime higher education institutions, two maritime training institutions, and two assessment centers nationwide from 30 March to 10 April 2022.

Marina hired the technical experts to perform the evaluation of the country’s compliance with STCW.

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