Government urged to strengthen PH vessel register

FOR maritime stakeholders, if the Philippines is to be more globally competitive, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his administration will need to strengthen the Philippine Ship Registry, as this will not only provide jobs for the country’s many seafarers , but also help cadets find places to complete their training.

“Each year, the country welcomes about 100,000 new students for the Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) courses offered by many outstanding maritime educational institutions, but only a small percentage of these new cadets can be accommodated by the industry,” said Arsenio Padilla Jr., President of Exact Training Center Inc., during the media launch of the EXPO Maritime Philippines 2023 – Flag State and Shipbuilders Convention at the Sheraton Manila hotel recently.

The convention, according to event organizer Rachelle Bataclan Lopez of the WMOC group of companies, will be held February 16-17, 2023 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila hotel and aims to bring together representatives from key flag states and stakeholders. of shipbuilding. to discuss issues within the marine industry and what can be done to address them.

The event will raise critical maritime issues to draw the attention of the new government led by President Marcos to respond and push for the country’s maritime development.

Padilla said that although the country receives so many students with great potential, out of the 100,000 students, only about 25% of them will be able to complete the classroom teaching phase of their education.

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To make matters worse, he claimed that only a very few of them will be able to find a company that can provide them with a berth, a problem that many aspiring cadets have faced for many years.

“Of those 25,000 cadets [that managed to finish their classroom instruction]only a small number, around 5,000, will be able to board to do their onboard training or find a berth,” said Captain Padilla.

Currently, cadets are struggling to find berths, as shipping companies can only send a few cadets per vessel.

Due to this shortage, some cadets are forced to pay agents a lot of money just to get them on board a ship.

“If a cadet goes to study hard at one of our many maritime schools but then finds they cannot find a company that can offer them berth opportunities or onboard training, then their time, their efforts and his money are wasted,” says Padille.

“The Philippine flag registry only has about 100 ships, but Filipino seafarers make up about 30 percent of the entire maritime workforce in the maritime sector,” he pointed out, noting the need for the country to improve its flag State register.

“I think that’s what the current administration should be focusing on: improving and strengthening the Philippine ship registry so that we can provide more berths,” he said.

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