MANILA – The Philippines has two months to ensure that it complies with the issues raised by the European Union on the country's maritime education, training, and certification system otherwise its seafarers will be de-recognized by member states.
"The EU has requested the Philippine authorities to provide by end of July 2014 the necessary evidence to demonstrate that all outstanding deficiencies have been resolved and that they have fully implemented the requirements of the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) convention. Failure to resolve any remaining issue may result in the loss of EU recognition," the EU said in a press statement.
Last week, the European Commission's Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) presented the EU Member States an overall assessment of the Philippine maritime education, training and certification system.
"According to the report, it appears that the Philippine authorities have made appreciated efforts to bring their system in line with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The efforts were supported by several EU Member States which provided technical assistance to the Philippine authorities," the EU said.
The assessment was based on the inspection reports of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the follow-up measures that Philippine authorities have put in place to address deficiencies identified.
"However, there are still concerns and the Philippine authorities need to demonstrate that the audit plans in place are actually being carried out and that they have all the necessary technical qualified human resources to monitor the numerous maritime education and training institutions operating in the Philippines," it added.
EMSA will make further inspection in October to verify on the spot the implementation of measures taken.
The EU has invited the Philippine authorities to consider bringing the matter to the attention of the International Maritime Organization as well as seeking further technical assistance from the international community as has been the case in the past.
"The EU has long recognized the Philippines as an important maritime nation whose many seafarers on European vessels are much appreciated. Meanwhile recent events continue to remind us of the importance of ensuring high standards for the officials at the helm of our vessels in the interests of the safety of passengers, seafarers, merchandise and the maritime industry as a whole," said EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux.