The maritime industry of the Philippines has been receiving its fair share of tirades during the past months. This started with the unfortunate incident that happened with MV Mercraft 3 which killed at least 8 people plus the issue on the shipboard training of maritime cadets in the Philippines
Bantay OCW program of Inquirer Radio & Inquirer TV, together with the Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines (MMAP) headed by its president, Captain Edwin Itable reached out to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to address these key issues.
As a result, the Department of Labor and Employment held a Maritime Industry Tripartite Council meeting on the 25th of January, chaired by Labor Secretary Bello and tackled the significant issues of the Philippine Maritime industry.
Present in the MITC meeting are members of the Tripartite council from the Government, Maritime Unions, maritime employers group, officers of the Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines, and other pro-maritime industry groups.
The council meeting discussed both Overseas and Domestic seafaring committee.
According to the MITC-Overseas Seafaring Committee (OSC), five (5) committee meetings were made on 2017 and one (1) for 2018. A technical working group was also created for the POEA Rules and Regulations and on Seafaring Statistics.
POEA Director Levinson Alcantara reported that regular meetings are scheduled for the amendments of the Standard Employment Contract for seafarers, development of standards of the employment contract of migrant fishers, study on the ILO minimum wage and the minimum wage of migrant fishers, and third party medical issuance,
Additionally, members of the Council specified that there should be stricter orders for the compliance and regulation of seafarers claims from financial security providers.
“There should be sanctions and penalties in case there is failure or delay on the part of the financial security provider to grant the seafarer’s claim, as suggested by DOLE Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod.
Meanwhile, the domestic seafaring committee focused on the registration of Philippine Flagged vessels in accordance to its compliance to Philippine laws and the Maritime Labour Organization.
One of the highlights during the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council meeting, are the issues brought up by Captain Edwin Itable of the Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines.
According to Captain Itable, the tripartite council should conduct a case study regarding the sinking of the passenger vessel MERCRAFT 3, in reference to the vessel’s Ship Stability Calculation as approved by MARINA on November 29, 2016 and in compliance with the Philippine Merchant Marine Rules and Regulations 1997.
“There were technical lapses on the stability calculations of MARINA…there should be practical training and assessment in berthing and unberthing on board ship” , Itable added.
He proposed to create a technical working group to conduct the study on the matter and discuss other issues and concerns. The TWG shall be composed of representatives from MMAP, JMG, MARINA, PCG and other agencies or parties.
The President of the Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines even volunteered MMAP as a resource organization in the verification and validation of gross tonnage measurement.
Another issue presented by Itable is the lack of ship board training for the maritime cadets which is a major hindrance for the fulfillment of the dreams of thousands of Filipino Maritime Cadets in order to become full pledged seafarers.
Michael Estaniel from the International Maritime Employers’ Council, suggested to revisit the POEA rules and regulation for sea-based workers in order to review the problems encounter with the conduct of education program.
The Maritime Industry Tripartite Council noted all the concerns and problems cited by Captain Itable and assured that it will be relayed to the proper agencies.
The meeting also tackled the Magna Carta for Seafarers and other related bills concerning the Philippine Maritime Industry.
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