The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) confirmed the Philippines has maintained its spot on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) White List of countries compliant with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 1978, which governs seafarers worldwide.
This means the country will continue to be the most sought-after maritime nation, and Filipino seafarers will be continuously hired in all international ocean-going vessels, especially in European countries, which hire the bulk of local mariners.
Marina Officer in Charge Administrator Vice Adm. Narciso Vingson Jr. said the Philippines’ continuing inclusion in the White List is a confirmation of the country’s consistent efforts in producing globally competent Filipino seafarers through the enhancement of maritime education, training, assessment and certification system.
The Philippines was included in the White List for the fourth time when it was last released in 2011.
In a statement, Marina said the White List was concluded during the 101st session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) held from June 5 to 14, 2019.
On a controversial list that was exclusively obtained by The Manila Times in March, the Philippines was excluded from it when it failed to comply with minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships, under the revised 1978 STCW of the IMO, a United Nations agency.
With the “possible exclusion” of the country from the list, the jobs of more than 400,000 Filipino seafarers were “placed at risk.”
“The revised list has excluded those parties that either have not submitted their subsequent reports or have submitted them outside the time periods prescribed so that they are still under consideration by the competent persons,” Natasha Brown, media relations officer of the IMO, was quoted as saying in a document sent to the Times.
But Department of Transportation’s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Hope Libiran said the so-called list was not titled “White List,” it was just a commonly used term to determine countries that are compliant with the International Convention on STCW.
Lawyer Brenda Pimentel, former IMO regional coordinator in East Asia and The Manila Times columnist, said earlier the IMO document “appears authentic,” but reiterated that it is not the White List.
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade acknowledged the good news and challenged Marina to ensure the country’s continuing compliance with international maritime standards, specifically at the upcoming IMO Member State Audit Scheme in 2021 that will look into the country’s implementation and enforcement of the provisions of mandatory IMO instruments pertaining to STCW, safety of life at sea, prevention of pollution from ships, load lines, tonnage, and regulations for preventing collisions at sea.