EU hopes to implement assistance to PH maritime industry before end-2023, envoy says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — The European Union (EU) hopes to execute programs to help improve the Philippines’ maritime industry before the end of the year, its envoy said on Tuesday.

“Before the end of the year we will have in place something that we can work together,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

The EU Commission for Transport announced on March 31 that it will continue recognizing seafarers’ certificate issued by the Philippine government. It noted Manila’s efforts to comply with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers. 

It also cited areas that Philippines needs to improve on, like monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training; examination and assessment of competence; and program and course design.

READ: DOTr wants inter-agency efforts to address maritime industry issues

While there has been sufficient progress in addressing these, Veron said the EU will continue monitoring the Philippines’ compliance with standards.

The EU will also provide assistance, which will be more on transfer of knowledge through technical assistance, to improve Manila’s maritime education, he noted.

“This is something that we have to discuss first with our experts, the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon, and the experts on the Philippines’ side so that we can find the best way to help,” Veron added.

The envoy said this will not only benefit Filipino seafarers, but also their families because it will ensure they get quality education. Furthermore, this will allow them to be hired and work on the best ships worldwide, he added.

Prior to the release of EU’s decision, it warned the Philippines in December 2021 that seafarers’ certificates it is issuing would be revoked if the country fails to comply with international standards.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier warned that 50,000 Filipino seafarers in the EU are at risk of losing their livelihood if the commission decided to push through with the revocation.

Veron said the EU continuously values Filipino seafarers for their competency and discipline.

“In terms of being employed on these ships, the Philippines getting good education and being a Filipino is a good thing,” he noted.