By Xy Aldrae Murillo

Amid fears of losing job opportunities for about 50,000 Filipino seafarers, the Philippine’s Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said they signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the French Embassy in the country.

Photo Courtesy of MARINA/

The said MOA was signed last November 8 by MARINA Administrator Hernani Fabia and Olivier Ginepro, Economic Service Head of the French Embassy in the Philippines, to enhance maritime security and safety.

Under the signed agreement, France will deploy a French maritime professional in the Philippines to provide MARINA with necessary development enhancements such as training and technical assistance in consultancy services.

The memorandum also calls for the promotion of France's best maritime practices in ensuring the safety of people and property at sea, maritime security, and the protection of the marine environment.

Furthermore, the agreement is to encourage active participation in developing international standards for the safety and security of transport and to discourage ships from polluting the seas.

Both countries agreed to the ten-year Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP), a framework with objectives to reform and check up on vessels, modernize the local fleet, optimize ships and equipment, and train manpower on the said field.

The MIDP is also included in the signed memorandum of agreement, where it aids MARINA in creating a National Transport Plant through MIDP for the shipping industry, industry capability and capacity assessments, policy formulation, and implementation of assessment.

It can be recalled that the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has reported that some Philippine maritime schools fail to adhere with the provisions of 1978 International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers, and this discrepancies could lead to the calculated job losses of Philippine seafarers globally.

EMSA flagged the country for the noncompliance as Filipino seafarers are still being employed in global shipping lines despite the country's noncompliance with the European Union (EU)'s standards for the shipping industry.

Earlier, Senator Risa Hontiveros raised an alarm to take action through an urgent improvisation of maritime education in the country by Senate Resolution No. 279 filed last November 7.

According to the senator, a Magna Carta for seafarers should be established, and it is urgent for the Senate to call the attention of MARINA and the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) after the EMSA's notice of the country's maritime training status ever since 2006.

Edited by Juliana Mondoyo