An audit done by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on the maritime or shipping industry may give the Philip–pines a failing grade again after a controversial appointment to the Maritime Industry Au–thority (Marina).
Nelson Ramirez, president of the United Filipino Seafarers (UFS) told The Manila Times that the appointment of Alvin Tormon as the new executive director of MARINA’s Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) may be frowned upon by the EMSA as a case of a conflict of interest since he owns maritime training and review centers.
Ramirez said while they believed Tormon was qualified for the job, his private maritime business could be his downfall.
“Although Capt. Tormon is qualified for the position, there are several sectors in the seafaring industry which are against his appointment because he owns a maritime training center and maritime review center. Conflict of interest is being highlighted in the EMSA report,” Ramirez stressed.
Ramirez was referring to the two audits conducted by EMSA last year, which both earned the country a failing grade.
Among the noticed by the EMSA, according to an earlier report, was the appointment of people who will oversee the STCW. They asked why stake–holders such as those owning review centers are the ones granting the STCW, since they may favor their graduates in the of granting certificates instead of accrediting neutral inspectors.
The results of the second EMSA audit are to be officially released in June this year.
EMSA had previously noted that some officials in key maritime functions either sit on the board or run a maritime school, training center or review center.
The government is begging for an extension since a June announcement would automa–tically set in motion the black–listing of some 80,000 Filipino seafarers manning European Union-flagged ships.