Filipino officers on EU ships: a question of arithmetic

You can perish the thought of the European Commission withdrawing recognition of Philippine ship officers’ certificates. No, it is not because the Filipino seaman factory is now in tip-top shape. The 28 European Union member states represented by the Commission have little or no desire to dump Filipino officers. The fact that the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) made another […]

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The silliness of some maritime awards

Corporations as well as persons thirst for recognition. So it should not surprise anyone that maritime awards have become as common — and as cheap — as Starbucks coffee. The thirst needs quenching. But what business does the maritime press have giving awards to entities it is obliged to write about objectively, indeed with a critical eye? It all seems […]

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Art and thoughts of abandoned crews

The International Labor Organization’s (ILO) database of abandoned crews makes for some interesting reading. However, it paints a rather incomplete picture. What hardships and anguish do mariners suffer when they are left by shipowners to fend for themselves, unpaid and often without provisions? I hope the following works of art, together with my ruminations on the subject, will give readers […]

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The maritime blogger as industry critic

The maritime establishment — the groups that exercise power and influence over industry policy and opinion — is not only as resistant to change as the rock in Ivan Aivazovsky‘s 1885 painting ‘Rocky Island’ (pictured above). It is also often regarded as sacrosanct. As a result, any criticism of the system is likely to draw disdain and anger from those […]

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Abandoned crews: all’s well that ends well?

The press release issued by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) last 13th of March was understandably jubilant: 17 crew members of the Panama-flagged Sea Honest had all finally returned home. The Indian and Turkish seamen were abandoned in Algeria, unpaid and without provisions, in July 2016. The nightmare is over. Justice has been done, according to the ITF. I […]

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Maritime training videos are underrated

I find it interesting that instructional videos are rarely, if ever, used in maritime schools and training centres in the Philippines, the world’s top crew-supplying nation. When I first explored the world of coffee, I learned plenty by watching films about how coffee is harvested and roasted, the proper way to store coffee beans and the different methods of brewing. […]

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Filipino ignorance about EMSA inspections

Many Filipinos engaged in manning and training still harbour in their heads some fallacies about the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the inspections it conducts on behalf of the European Commission, which represents the 28 European Union member states. In previous posts, I had written about two major misconceptions. These are so egregious that they bear repeating on the […]

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Far-out ways to vet Filipino maritime schools

I can’t blame inspectors from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for being rather bookish in their audit of Philippine maritime academies. By necessity, they have to go by the specific regulations of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978, in determining whether quality management systems are in place or training equipment […]

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Filipino maritime schools: the key question

Philippine maritime schools are on alert. A team from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will visit the country in mid-March for their fifth inspection since 2006 (the 2012 visit did not entail inspection, only consultation with maritime administration officials). This has been a protracted affair. It’s time to cut to the chase. Total Share: 4011101

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