Shipowners laud recall of key bill on seafarers | Inquirer News

Shipowners laud recall of key bill on seafarers

HOWABOUT US? Some of the country’s 700,000 seafarerssalute after Mass for National Seafarers’ Day. —FILE PHOTO

HOWABOUT US? Some of the country’s 700,000 seafarers salute after Mass for National Seafarers’ Day. —FILE PHOTO

Local shipowners and operators on Friday lauded the House of Representatives for recalling the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and thanked President Marcos for not signing the bill.

The Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association Inc. (PCSA) thanked the President for not signing the Magna Carta and seeking instead further congressional review.


The House of Representatives, meanwhile, passed House Concurrent Resolution No. 23 recalling the enrolled copy of the bill that Mr. Marcos was supposed to have signed into law on Feb. 26.


PCSA said it was not against the magna carta that has been pending for over 10 years, but it opposed the “reckless application” of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) and the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers Convention (STCW) to the domestic shipping industry.

The shipping group said adopting the MLC 2006, a salient feature of the bill, can be “injurious and will kill the domestic shipping industry.”

“[It] requires specific criteria for crew accommodations, quarters and recreation facilities, which could not be complied by the members of the association who are small and medium-sized ships,” PSCA noted.

Heading for bankruptcy

“The addition of accommodation, recreational facilities, and other requirements under MLC 2006 not only would cause additional expenses but would affect revenues, which would eventually bankrupt the domestic shipping industry,” it noted.

The group also said the STCW espoused by the European Maritime Safety Agency (Emsa) should only apply to Filipino seamen overseas and not to seafarers working locally.

READ: 50,000 Filipino seafarers risk job loss on EU vessels 


“Applying strict requirements under the STCW Convention and other international standards to domestic seafarers with displacement of the non-STCW certified seamen will undoubtedly decrease the supply of crew onboard domestic ships due to the high standard requirements,” the group said.

In 2022, Emsa flagged the Philippines over maritime schools that do not comply with the STCW Convention and threatened not to accredit Filipino seafarers for work onboard European vessels.

Looking for balance

Emsa decided last year to continue recognizing STCW certificates being issued by the country after the Philippines complied with the international standards for maritime workers.

In conclusion, the group said, “We hope for a balanced Magna Carta, which will amply protect our Filipino seafarers while nurturing a robust domestic shipping industry.”

READ: Palace: US firms to hire 75,000 Filipino seafarers

The Philippines is the top supplier of seafarers in the world, according to the 2021 review of maritime transport by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

The Unctad report estimated about 700,000 seafarers were deployed on domestic or foreign-flagged seagoing vessels.

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According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, sea-based cash remittances grew by 2 percent to $6.9 billion last year. INQ

TAGS: Filipino seafarers, Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

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