European Commission mulling ban on Filipino seafarer deployment following EMSA audit

Deutsche Welle reports that the European Commission is considering imposing a ban that will prohibit EU-registered ships from employing Filipino crews after a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) audit found the country’s maritime training institutions have failed to comply with the requisite safety standards.

Regulators discovered earlier this year that local training institutions in the Philippines did not satisfy the standards mandated by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

EMSA said that it had been warning the Philippines as early as 2006 about the need to address the issues related to the institutions’ non-compliance.

Officials in Manila reiterate that the government has been continually adopting measures meant to improve the quality of maritime education throughout the country. However, local labour rights groups have criticised the said measures as mere “band-aid solutions” since sufficient subsidies have not been provided to modernise training facilities to ensure compliance with international standards.

Should the European Commission decide to impose the ban based on the EMSA findings, the competency certifications of Filipino seafarers will no longer be recognised, thus preventing them from working on EU-registered vessels.

The ban also runs the risk of the Philippines being stricken from the “white list” of countries that are deemed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as ideal for seafarer employability.

The commission is set to issue its final decision on the matter within the first quarter of 2023.

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