Who remembers the Doña Paz victims?

One upshot of the frenzied Christmas season in the Philippines was that the 22nd anniversary of the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster (20th of December) whizzed by virtually unnoticed. Filipinos take merrymaking, and Christmas in particular, rather seriously. On the other hand, they’re known to respect and honour their dead: major public and private cemeteries in Metro Manila are packed […]

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Seven best in Philippine maritime circles

In consonance with the ancient Chinese concept of yin yang, we present a brief roster of maritime entities we believe are worthy of admiration. This is by no means a complete list of those we personally consider to have excelled in their respective fields and set an example for others to follow. But it should provide a balance to our […]

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Seven ills of Philippine manning & training

Times must be hard when a local maritime union loses 48 collective wage agreements covering as many vessels as a result of fleet downsizing by foreign shipowners. Or when a crewing company owned by a prominent industry figure is forced to cut its staff and sell office furniture and equipment. Even so, the country’s manning and training sector seems to […]

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When good intentions are plain bad

Proposed amendments to the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (Republic Act No.8042) which would effectively diminish seafarers’ rights by limiting their freedom of choice and imposing new requirements have hurdled the bicameral committee in the Congress. The final draft is out. This is yet another illustration of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. […]

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What a difference a buoy makes

Frankly speaking, we are no avid fans of some of the Philippine Ports Authority’s waterfront policies. But our regard for the PPA under General Manager Oscar Sevilla shot up by a mile when it awarded last month the Manila North Harbor concession to Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc (HCPTI) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp – thus completing a long and […]

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Lending new lustre to an old institution

The recent commissioning by the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) of three brand-new Transas simulators is a shot in the arm for the Philippines’ only state-run crew training centre. The NMP had long been hobbled by ageing equipment – unable to modernise due to budget constraints and the seeming lack of political will on the part of the authorities concerned. Shall […]

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How language can distort maritime reality

One would expect merchant marine officers, manning executives and maritime bureaucrats to use language with a bit more precision than ordinary mortals. Theirs, after all, is a technical world where accuracy and exactness are of prime importance. Alas, this isn’t the case with Manila’s maritime community. There seems to be much linguistic carelessness all around, often resulting in gibberish and […]

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An afternoon with Transas and the Navy

Shortly before the start of our forced leave from writing in September, we had the good fortune of being present when a group of Philippine Navy officers visited the PNTC Colleges training department in Intramuros, Manila, as part of their Command at Sea Course. On that dull and gray afternoon, we were to gain as much insight into the country’s […]

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