THE Transportation department said on Thursday that it expressed to European governments the Philippines’ commitment to complying with seafarer training standards.

“I briefed the ambassador of France… the other day. Yesterday, I met the ambassador of Norway,” Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista told reporters on the sidelines of the Norway-Philippines Maritime & Energy Conference.

“I will meet some other ambassadors to assure them that the government is committed to complying with the requirements of the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping for Seafarers),” he added.

The European Union (EU) has told the Philippines to bring seafarer training up to the norms required by the STCW convention.

Following an inspection conducted in 2020, the European Commission notified the Philippines of a number of deficiencies — including serious ones — identified in the education, training, and certification system for Philippine seafarers.

The EU has noted that “inconsistencies have been identified in relation to the competencies covered by the education and training programs leading to the issuing of officers’ certificates, as well as in several approved programs regarding teaching and examination methods, facilities and equipment.”

“Inconsistencies have also been identified in the monitoring of inspections and evaluations of the schools. In addition, there have been concerning findings as regards simulators and on-board training,” it added.

Mr. Bautista said the Philippines is “addressing the issues.”

“We will just continue to communicate with EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) kung ano na ’yung status nung mga action plans (on the status of the action plans),” he added.

“The plan is to have regular diplomatic briefings, which I have started,” he added.

He said the department is roping in the Commission on Higher Education, maritime schools, the Department of Migrant Workers, and the Maritime Industry Authority to address the issues.

Mr. Bautista said that the government is keen to collaborate with the Norwegian shipping industry to employ more Filipino seafarers.

“There are 25,000 Filipino seafarers who are on board Norwegian ships. We will continue that. We will encourage more Filipinos to work with the Norwegian shipping industry,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin