After almost a year, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) finally revealed the results of the European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) latest inspection on the country’s maritime education, training and certification conducted by the European Union attached agency in March 2017.

During the STCW Forum at the AMOSUP Convention Center last month, MARINA revealed the findings of EMSA on the following areas of concerns:

For the Maritime Administration, the agency noted the requirements for certification on the following:

• Approved training not required to all candidates;

• Issuing some Certificate of Proficiency (COPs) based on functions considered to be equivalent to seagoing service;

• Incomplete requirements for issuance of COP in Advanced Training for Tanker Cargo Operations; and

• No specific criteria defined to approve seagoing service.

EMSA also noted the deficiencies of the Administration on the following:

- Quality Management

- Program and Course approval

- Monitoring and evaluation

- Qualification and training Assessors, Instructors and Supervisors

- Assessment of competence

- On-board training

- Certification and endorsement; and

- Revalidation

On concerns for the maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs); EMSA audited only two maritime institutions, including the University of Cebu (UC), whose findings disclosed issues on Quality Management; Program and course design, review and approval; training Facilities; monitoring and supervision of training; use of Simulators and examination.

Meanwhile, Malayan Colleges Laguna did not slip the scrutiny of EMSA as their representatives found out similar issues with UC including Quality management, program and course approval; training facilities; monitoring and supervision of training; use of Simulators and examination.

In October 2013, EMSA conducted similar inspection to twelve (12) MHEIs with almost the same findings on Quality management, program course, qualification of training Instructors and Assessors, training facilities, monitoring and supervision of training, use of Simulators and examination.

Those inspected in 2013 include: Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP); Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (MAAP); Palompon Institue of Technology; Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation; University of Cebu; John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation; University of the Visayas; St. Therese – MTC Colleges; Capitol University; Visayan Maritime Academy; Southern De Oro Philippine College; and Malayan Colleges Laguna.

In March 2012, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) ordered the phasing out of PMI Manila and Quezon City branches’ Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) programs respectively. The same fate was issued by the Commission against West Negros College.

For the maritime training institutions (MTIs), the European Union attached agency only visited the Far East Maritime Foundation Cebu and noted its findings on Quality management; program and course approval and use of simulators.

In October 2013, six (6) MTIs were inspected with the same results.

EMSA first visited Manila on 6-28 March 2006 where it first discovered several major non-conformances to the international standards. Another inspection was conducted in 12-30 April 2010, and almost after two years, they returned to the country in 8-14 March 2012. Their fourth inspection took place on 16-19 April 2013 followed on 8-24 October of the same year and prior to their last audit in 2017; EMSA representatives held its sixth inspection on 29 Sept. – 3 Oct. 2014.

From then on, MARINA, CHED and private sectors collaborated in an effort to save the employment of thousands of Filipino seafarers’ onboard EU-Flagged vessels as they threatened to ban Filipino seafarers if the Maritime Administration failed to rectify the deficiencies in areas of education, training and certification.

MARINA and CHED ordered the phasing out of bachelor programs of several other MHEIs that failed to abide by their policies and standards but were allowed to offer Enhanced Support Level Program (ESLP) which was later suspended/terminated effective October 2017 with the implementation of the K-12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd) under STCW Advisory 2017-14.

However, in September 2017, MARINA submitted its Corrective Action Plan for each EMSA inspection findings on the maritime education, training and certification system of the country. As of this writing, the Maritime Administration is still waiting for feedback from the European Commission.n

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