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RP seafarers to undergo mandatory anti-piracy training Jan. 2010

 Beginning January next year, all Filipino seafarers would undergo training to prepare themselves against pirate abduction in the high seas, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) announced Thursday.

The training, which is not expected to last more than a day, is aligned with the module of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners and will begin on Jan. 15, POEA chief Jennifer Manalili said.

According to Manalili, the module would be conducted outside the existing pre-departure orientation seminar so that it would be more “thorough and extensive.”

“And this would not have additional cost for the seafarers. It will be shouldered by the manning agency,” said Manalili.

The labor department said piracy in Somalia, notably the Gulf of Aden, has come to an alarming proportion in recent months.

There are 68 Filipino seafarers still being held by pirates in Somalia and Nigeria. All of them remain locked up in six vessels while waiting for the results of negotiations between shipowners and the abductors.

A third of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos, making them the most at risk to pirate abductions.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) met with manning agency leaders and seafarer union groups to discuss various issues confronting kidnap-prone Filipino seafarers, including psycho-social counseling for and support services for the abducted and their families as well as financial assistance.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said kidnapping has become an unfortunate reality for the 350,000 Filipino seafarers all over the world.

Roque admitted that despite the safety measures they have set in place, they cannot do anything to halt Somali pirates from kidnapping in the high seas. Since Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991, Somali’s have been lured to banditry as a primary source of income.

“I was discussing with shipowners that the issue in the Gulf will reach unreasonable proportions that they have to change their route,” Roque said during a tripartite meeting with the Maritime industry in Manila.

Amid the threat of kidnappings in the high seas, Filipino seafarers remitted a record $2.502 billion from January to September this year.

Filipino seafarers’ remittances accounted for 20 percent of the aggregate remittances from all overseas Filipino workers in the nine-month period. – Joseph Holandes Ubalde/RSJ, GMANews.TV

 

RP seafarers to undergo mandatory anti-piracy training Jan. 2010
GMA news.tv – Quezon City,Metro Manila,Philippines

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, ,

One Response - Comments are closed.

  1. Michael.M says:

    Yesterday I attended a anti-Piracy forum (as an observer) in Manila, Philippines that was hosted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Other government agency participants in the forum include the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers welfare Administration and others. From the private sector, Seafarer labor unions and Manning agencies were also in attendance.

    This forum was organized with the appropriate intent on establishing rules or regulations with the safety of the seafarer in mind. However, it must be first understood that the maritime industry is already burdened as a compliance heavy industry. It is correct to have the desire to protect the seafarer, however, from what I observed, these government entities do not have an understanding of how the maritime industry is already attempting to cope with the piracy issue in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

    One of the suggestions that came from the government side, was to mandate that any ship carrying a Filipino Seafarer, must have a ships security plan and the seafarer should be orientated on the plan. Last time I looked, the ISPS Code already has that requirement in place, and all vessels already have a ships security plan. This type of suggestion immediately tells us that rules and regulations are going to be implemented by persons that have never been on a ship, and are clearly unfamiliar with the current regulations already in place.

    The next step was to mandate that all Filipino seafarers must complete anti piracy training before they can be deployed on ships, and this is to become effective January 15, 2010. Further, this is to be effective for seafarers that are on leave, and those currently deployed on vessels.

    The number of Filipino seafarers in the world is around 300,000. The question is, what is the training that is required, and how could anyone train 300,000 seafarers in that short period of time?

    there is no answer to the second part of the question, but now the training that is proposed is to be a video. Someone in their infinite wisdom proposed that a video that was taken of a presentation by an INTERTANKO giving a presentation on Best Management Practices, should have a few pictures added to it and the seafarer be required to watch the video, then a certificate be issued.

    I have nothing against the Best Management Practices as published by INTERTANKO, I actually commend them for this publication, and agree that it should be implemented on board vessels. However, this would be considered an orientation to seafarers and not anti piracy training. In fact, the publication for Best Management Practices has been out for a period of time, well distributed and well recognized in the maritime industry. As a matter of conclusion, the majority of seafarers in the world have probably already read the publication. I encourage all seafarers to become familiar with the Best Management Practices as published by INTERTANKO.

    Should this effort of watching this video be called an ‘orientation’ of the seafarer, that would be appropriate. However, to term this as anti piracy training that will secure the seafarer would be ludicrous. It was very clearly stated that the elements of the Philippine Government present wanted to make this a mandatory training program in order to be a world leader in anti piracy training for their seafarers. This concept is a fantastic idea, however, if you want to be a world leader in anti piracy training for your seafarer, maybe their should be a training program that actually is a training program, not just a video on information that is already widely published.

    Before a mandate of a training program such as Anti-Piracy training should be put in place, I would think it appropriate to hear the voice of the actual seafarer, the ship owners and representatives of the maritime security industry, in order to form a program that has the proper substance and value to the actual seafarer and the shipping company. Merely mandating a video to be watched, and a certificate issued is nothing more than bureaucracy attempting to take credit for establishing a program and trying to give it an appearance that they are solving the seafarers issues of sailing in dangerous waters, when in fact, the mandate of this as “training” is just above useless. This mandate would be a duplication to the efforts that shipping companies are already doing on their own.

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