National shipowners have urged the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to suspend a recent notice it issued which limits the number of cadets to be accommodated on board ships for their on-board training.
According to Pedro G. Aguilar, executive director of the Philippine Interisland Shipping Association (PISA), the notice was drafted and published by Marina even without public consultation with stakeholders.
Marina Notice 2020-11 titled “Maximum number of cadets that can be accommodated for on-board training” states that national vessels must meet a minimum standard of on-board accommodation, adding that the total number of persons allowed to on board, as reflected on its ship safety. The certificate should not go beyond with student / cadet acceptance.
The notice also published a list of ships with their maximum number of cadets to be accepted for training on board.
PISA immediately requested the temporary suspension of the said notice due to several shortcomings, as mentioned by Aguilar in his letter to the administrator of the marina, the Vam. Narciso Vingzon Jr.
Aguilar stressed that by limiting the number of cadets on the ships even if it can accommodate more than the maximum number indicated in the notice of the marina and without violating the order of the DoLE N0 department. 129 S. 2013 (Maritime Labor Convention 2006 Regulation 3.1), exacerbates the minimum turnover of student cadets on board ships in the country and the future availability of deck and engine officers in the national maritime industry.
Data available from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) shows that the total enrollment for the 2015-2016 academic year for BS Marine Engineering stands at 96,103 students while those with BS Marine Transportation are at 128,420 students. These students are required to complete a one-year on-board training program prior to graduation.
The list provided on the Marina Notice can only accommodate 450 Deck Cadets and 576 Motor Cadets.
Aguilar pointed out that the list of shipping companies and vessels on the notice was missing several others. “Does it follow that those who are not on the list cannot accommodate cadets for on-board training?” ” He asked.
Only two PISA members are on the list, namely Starlite Ferries, Inc. and Gothong Southern Shipping Lines, Inc. Other member companies like Archipelago Philippine Ferries, Corp. and Magsaysay Group of Shipping, which have onboard cadet training agreements with schools, are not included in the list.
“If the intention of the notice is to exclude those not listed, our members may be in violation of their agreements with the relevant maritime schools,” he said.
Aguilar called on Marina to temporarily suspend the said notice until a public consultation takes place with the shipowners and representatives of maritime schools.