THE CHAIN LOCKER
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Post Edit: I've had an email from Barista Uno of the Marine Cafe Blog linked below. He has had a long interview with the EU representatives on the ground in the Philippines, and corrects what I've reported. He says, in part:

"I would like to correct what you wrote in your own blog post. The EMSA team was in Manila to talk to top officials of the three state agencies involved in MET administration and crew certification  - namely, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Maritime Training Council and the Professional Regulation Commission (the state licensing agency). No inspection of MET institutions was conducted."


He also points out that only PMI is involved - no other schools are under the microscope.

I appreciate his correction, as I had gotten a different impression from other sources. I've edited the post below to reflect his corrections.


If you're a Filipino seafarer, or otherwise involved, please comment below and let us know how things look from your point of view!

Original Post:

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has sent investigators to to talk to top officials of the three state agencies involved in maritime training administration and crew certification. Prior to this, the Philippine Commission for Higher Education (CHED) had threatened action against Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI) over "gross deficiencies" that it had identified as long ago as 2006. See the link:

 http://naftrade.weebly.com/7/post/2012/03/maritime-schools-fear-losing-eu-recognition-of-pinoy-seamen.html  

The Philippine Association of Maritime Training Centers Inc. (PAMTCI) and the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) have joined CHED in urging closure of PMI, pointing out that Filipino seamen remitted $4.34 billion in 2011 - more than land-based workers. The loss of these remittances would seriously impact the economy of the Philippines. 

CHED and the Department Of Labor & Employment released this statement: "The failure of the Philippines to rectify the deficiencies noted by the EMSA will trigger the European Commission proceedings on the withdrawal of European Union's (EU) recognition of certificates issued by the Philippine government to Filipino seafarers, which may result to non-hiring of such seafarers on board EU member flagged vessels, as well as pre-termination of contracts of those on board."  


So it would look pretty important for PMI to get its house in order - or else shut down - in order to spare their country, and their mariners, some serious consequences.

I've sailed with Filipino sailors and the men I worked with were fine men and fine sailors. Seamen of their caliber don't deserve to be discredited by association. I hope CHED, the EMSA, and PMI can rectify the situation in time to prevent good mariners losing their jobs. 

Post Edit: Here is a link to a post on the excellent Marine Cafe Blog that also addresses the subject - this post is from several weeks ago, but brings up several interesting points:
 
http://marine-cafe.com/mcblog/?p=5367#more-5367

Does your company employ Filipino seamen? Are you from the Philippines yourself? Please comment below and share your point of view!