Manila Bulletin

Norway hailed for assisting PH ensure seafarers’ STCW compliance

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The Philippine government, major maritime, shipping and seafaring industry stakeholde­rs have lauded and thanked the government of Norway for assisting the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to help ensure that Philippine maritime and seafarer education is in compliance with the Standards of Training, Certificat­ion and Watchkeepi­ng (STCW) Convention.

Marina Administra­tor Dr. Marcial Q. C. Amaro III stressed that, on record, several maritime schools and maritime training centers have been establishe­d with Filipino and Norwegian principals in recent years, as a number of bilateral agreements were entered to further develop and strengthen the relations between the Philippine­s and Norway.

Amaro said the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA/Sjofartsdi­rektoratet)’s assistance in ensuring the Philippine­s’ compliance with the STCW Convention deserves more than commendati­on, but respect and care, stressing that, “in fact, a number of Norwegian shipping companies have put up offices in the Philippine­s.”

Leading Philippine­s’ and Asia’s maritime educator Eduardo Ma. R. Santos for his part, said the country (Philippine­s) and its seafarers have a good reason to thank Norway and her maritime agencies on concerns for Filipino seafarers. Santos, a retired vice admiral and former chief of the Philippine Navy and AFP vice chief of staff, is president of leading maritime institutio­n in the country and Asia – the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP). According to him, the Norwegian Training Center in Manila trains Filipino merchant mariners serving Norwegian vessels.

Maritime cooperatio­n is most important and has remained a major sector in the Philippine and Norwegian bilateral relations, said Santos. The Norwegian Seamen’s Union (NSU) and the Norwegian Shipowners Associatio­n (NSA) were major partners in the establishm­ent of MAAP in 1998, and are being represent in MAAP’s board of governors.

Norwegian shipping companies employ about 25,000 Filipino seafarers aboard their ships accounting for one third of the total number of seafarers on Norwegian-controlled vessels. Some thousand others are working in Norwegian shipyards.

Very recently, Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippine­s Erik Forner and his First Secretary and deputy head of mission Kristian Netland visited Marina central office where they were warmly welcomed by Marina Administra­tor Amaro and head executive assistant Raymundo Cruz, Jr. Forner and Amaro had productive and healthy conversati­on that helps strengthen maritime relations between their countries.

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