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MARINA on track to comply with EU norms for training seafarers

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THE Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said it is on track to address concerns raised by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) regarding the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (SCTW).

MARINA Administrator Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero reported at a Maritime Forum in Pasay City that the agency is looking to complete within the month the review and revision of several policies to address issues raised by EMSA after its inspection last March.

“Based on our schedule, we are on track (to meet the deadline). Our next milestone is on Oct. 31, when we will present the evidence of what we’ve submitted. We submitted to them last April 27 the things we will do and the things we have done. In October they will be back here to check. So that’s what we have to work on,” he told BusinessWorld in an interview.

EMSA is the regulatory arm of the European Commission, which ensures that countries involved in seafaring comply with the policies of the European Union on maritime safety. Mr. Guerrero told reporters that the EMSA assessment found several deficiencies with regard to SCTW compliance.

“There are some provisions we have to comply with, especially when it comes to assessment, issuance of certificates, and program implementation,” he said.

He said the findings are being addressed via the update of some MARINA circulars and the correction of deficiencies in maritime school facilities.

Mr. Guerrero said the agency has been in close coordination with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to remedy the issues, and has given training schools six months to adopt the revised curriculum.

He also noted that the circulars that EMSA flagged are undergoing legal review, some of which are what he expects to be done within the month.

Mr. Guerrero said failure to comply with EMSA standards will be a big blow to the Philippines’ perceived competitiveness in the maritime industry.

“We’re working closely with European Union member countries because they’re also interested to help,” he said.

Philippine Transmarine Carriers founder Carlos C. Salinas told BusinessWorld he is “optimistic” that MARINA will be able to complete its compliance program by October. “We are doing all our best and I’m very confident and optimistic that we are going be able to reply and to take action,” he said. — Denise A. Valdez