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We care about the maritime industry. We like all things nautical. And our hearts are with the seafarers, maritime women and all those who toil at sea. But try hard as we may, we can’t get ourselves to join the celebration in Manila of National Maritime Week (21st-28th September 2014). How can we celebrate when…

=> there’s been another ferry accident and the country’s maritime safety record remains as dismal as ever?

=> the Philippine oceangoing fleet is virtually non-existent?

=> local shipbuilding is in the hands of three foreign shipyards?

=> majority of the maritime schools are diploma mills?

=> Manila is still far from STCW compliance despite some attempts at meaningful reform?

=> corruption amongst those regulating and inspecting the maritime schools and training centres is as hard to contain as the Ebola virus?

=> manning agencies and even the unions continue to use cadets as maritime flunkeys (unpaid office help)?

=> seafarers continue to shell out their hard-earned money for substandard or redundant training?

=> there’s no maritime art and no maritime literature that would give substance to the claim that Filipinos are a “maritime nation”?

National Maritime Week? It’s all fluff, lacking in substance, a passing show. Someday perhaps we’ll have a reason to go and join the merrymaking in Manila. For now, we’ll stay put and enjoy our coffee. ~Barista Uno


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