The European Union (EU) has warned the Philippines on the “pressing issue” that Filipino mariners are facing as an offshoot of the failure of the country’s maritime schools to meet international standards.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. made this disclosure shortly after his meeting with EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen at the DFA office in Pasay City.
“He (Jessen) is a true friend of the Philippines. He warned me of the pressing issue of Filipino mariners on board superior and generous EU shipping dependent on our maritime schools getting a good rating. Can’t thank him enough for his concern and help. I will kick butt to save their jobs,” Locsin said in a tweet.
In March, the EU expressed a similar concern to the Philippines, noting that it may not be able to make it in what Locsin described as the “final judgment,” or the next round of audit to be conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in January 2020.
“EU is worried for us. They value our mariners. Especially Norwegians,” Locsin said.
It has been reported that Philippine maritime schools had been failing the audit being conducted by EMSA since 2006.
Among others, the Philippines was reportedly told to overhaul its Maritime Education and Training (MET) system to be compliant with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping or the STCW.
The STCW sets the qualification standards for seafaring officers on all seagoing merchant ships.
Industry insiders had suggested that maritime training schools system should be transformed from its present “qualification-based to competency-based” in order to be compliant.
The Philippines is one of the biggest suppliers of seafarers or mariners to European shipping agencies.