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Geio Tischler

European Commission continues to recognise Filipino seafarer certificates in maritime sector

23 August 2023

The European Commission recently made the decision to maintain its recognition of seafarer certificates issued by the Philippines, a prominent global supplier of maritime labour. The decision was a testament to the Philippines' commitment to adhering to international standards within the maritime industry.

Back in December 2021, the European Commission had raised concerns over the training and certification procedures within the Philippines' seafarer system which put into doubt the future of seafarer certificates. It had signaled that the recognition of these certificates might be revoked unless tangible measures were taken to align with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) - which could have impacted a significant number of yacht crew internationally.

Since then, the Philippines has undertaken substantial initiatives to meet the stringent requirements outlined by the Commission. Notably, improvements were focused on critical aspects such as the oversight, monitoring, supervision, training, and assessment processes.

There are currently an estimated 50,000 Filipino masters and officers actively serving on EU-flagged vessels.

In the following months, the Commission is expected to provide additional technical support to further bolster the Philippines' education, training, and certification system for seafarers. This commitment aligns with discussions held between President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN summit last December.

The European Commission's decision stands as a pivotal moment in sustaining the flow of skilled maritime professionals from the Philippines into the European and global shipping industry. It underscores the importance of maintaining rigorous standards and collaborative partnerships to ensure the safety, efficiency, and quality of maritime operations worldwide.

With seafarer certification playing a major role in the maritime industry, yacht crews can expect to receive further guidance in the future for upcoming changes in maritime law and requirements for training.

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