EU ban on Filipino officers warning

Mar 03 2014

InterManager has warned shipmanagers to put in place sensible contingency plans should Filipino officers find themselves banned from working on EU flagged vessels.

This move should guard against a worst-case scenario and follows concerns raised by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) over the ability of the Philippine Maritime Administration to fully and effectively implement all provisions of the STCW Convention.

InterManager said that the warning was intended to put a perspective on anxieties about what the EU may ultimately decide with regard to the results of EMSA’s most recent audit of the Philippines in October 2013.

Meantime, the Philippine Government and industry representatives are working together to rectify the original EMSA findings and Philippine sources were confident this continuing effort and work in progress will achieve the desired results for all stakeholders, the shipmanagement organisation said.

To mitigate the immediate impact of any possible ban that may be promulgated by the EU, InterManager has called on all shipmanagers to ensure their Filipino officers have extended the validity of their CoCs prior to any ban coming into force. The EU has indicated that, if a ban were to take effect, this would not be levied against valid and active CoCs.

Five years grace

By extending the validity of their CoCs, the Filipino officers will be able to gain a maximum five year grace period. Should the EU implement a ban, a subsequent resolution may likely be found within this five year grace period, InterManager said. For example, Georgia, which had recently been subjected to a similar ban, resolved its shortcomings within two years.

Owners and managers should also hold discussions with various Port State Control authorities to extend this five year window to Filipino officers serving on non-EU flagged vessels, which may call at EU ports.

Industry discussions are underway with a number of countries, such as the UK, Norway, The Netherlands and Belgium, to allow their recognised maritime schools to assess cadets for their CoCs, thus allowing those cadets to qualify for service on board EU-flagged ships.

InterManager president, Gerardo Borromeo, said: “The message we are giving out as responsible shipmanagers is that our primary duty is to ensure that ships continue to sail safely and efficiently, which means we will put the right people on board these ships and, in the case of Filipinos, we will work with the right crewing institutions and   entities to ensure these officers are properly trained and certificated.”

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