Diplomatic relations between nations start with primordial values but struggles on primeval instincts. Like Americans start as donors then morph as predators of local markets, traditional values and governance systems. USA gave more war reparations to Japan (an enemy) than to the Philippines (a loyal ally). Maybe to suave image before a horrified mankind for the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki, despite making Manila the most devastated city next to Warsaw, Poland.
But that’s the way of things. Bite the bullet from one who holds things one needs. As in barter, values depend on the user: in the East, trinkets for spices; in Africa, food for diamonds.
In maritime, advanced economies proselytize on the ideals of safety, efficiency and competence.. Then they use these to police shortfalls of rising economies. But when business demands, they use backdoors in Flags of Convenience (FOCs) of small but sovereign nations.
If the Philippines is axed, FOCs are viable alternatives to principals, shipmanagements, manning agencies and individual seafarers for acceptable accreditation of certificate of competencies and other mandated documentation.
Unwittingly, some FOCs developed into reliable alternatives, even against the oligopolization of European consortia. Aided by cutting edge on-line technologies, their services are pragmatic options advanced economies find hard to compete against.
They are ready (eager, actually) to help (themselves) on a problem emanating from a negative EMSA appreciation. MARINA could bellyache on the opportunism but that is finger-pointing and blatantly unfair.
For while we celebrated, they invested. They honed up systems while we corrupted ours for illicit profit and instant convenience. We have the penchant for lip service, exalting words for glowing visions. Reforms are more pakitang tao (grandstanding) than political will.
Our Ship Registry is pitiful; our MARINA, with pitfalls.
We may procrastinate since verdict is not out yet. Even if negative, protocol demands we are given reprieve for six months, at least, and likely extended should we be on our knees.
Marino World revisits Panama, Liberia and Marshall Islands being top three operations with large Ship Registries and documentation systems acceptable to IMO, PSC and EMSA.
The Guinness Book of Records has recently confirmed Panama has the largest Ship Registry in the world of over 8,000 vessels which is 18% of the global fleet. What is directly meaningful to EMSA is Seguridad Maritima (SeguMar) of the “Autoridad Maritima de Panama” (AMP) under Maritime Affairs Minister Jorge Barakat Pitty.
SeguMar is the agency that details Panama’s commitment to world-class seamanship, securing life and property by ensuring competence of crew on efficient vessels. It was created in 1977 as the technical arm of the Panama Ship Registry.
SeguMar opened the first office in New York. Today, the service network operates in Panama, Tokyo and Imabari (Japan), Seoul and Busan (South Korea), Istanbul (Turkey), Piraeus (Greece), Singapore, New York and Manila (with plans for Miami and Los Angeles, both USA).
These are regional documentation hubs, on digital access all year, staff bilingual on the language of the area, auditing accredited training centers, issuing technical certificates, including those from The Registry like Bunker Convention (BCC), Passenger Ship Liability (PAL), Wreck Removal (WRC) and Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR) for any flag amendment or cancellation.
For over 400,000 seafarers on Panama flagged vessels, SeguMar’s Seafarers’ Automatic Application (SAA) is available worldwide, on-line including e-payment. This guarantees transparency, speed, savings and security.
About 29 Maritime Training Centers (MTCs) are rigorously audited before being accredited. Seafarers are given more options: updating records, avoiding forgeries as valid data are electronically banked, complying with Codes, Conventions and Port State requirements.
Deputy Director (for Merchant Marine) Margareth Mosquera heralds, “The Panama flag enters a new stage of digitalizing… to streamline processes, ensure security and provide greater convenience…”
Year 2017 is a defining move with AMP contracting Pole Star Space Applications to monitor her vessels. PoleStar is the world’s largest, managing over 8,000 SOLAS-classed ships, on remote fleet monitoring, risk management, ship security, Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).
SeguMar success comes with determination and smarts; yet, must continue to outdo herself— 24×7 — to retain leadership in services and results.
Panama Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Rolando A. Guevara Alvarado, is also bullish, “We are faster, more expedient. We can control the urgencies because we have direct control now of printing, not only the CTs but also the seamen’s book.”
And this is within the day of application; or day following if filed in the afternoon.
According to Gerry Buchanan, Managing Director-LISR (Far East), Liberia has never been audited because EMSA has never considered it. Yet, Liberia issues original certificates and endorsements all accepted by IMO, PSC and EMSA globally.
Her Sea System is an on-line portal for the electronic submission of seafarer applications through vetted agents appointed by shipowners granted access with a password on a protected portal.
Seafarers may verify documents 24/7 through the Liberian website and app FlagState.
The Sea System is an on-line digital connectivity that completes transactions even off-site (without physical presence). In a recent visit to a CrewConnect Conference, Buchanan heard firsthand from clients how easy and cheaper to use the Sea System.
Parties may validate things from Jeck Roque at Auriga Maritime who deals with major Flags and has insight into and experience with all those systems.
Liberia claims leadership in electronic systems, the first and years ahead to issue electronic statutory certificates. Arguably, this service saves time and money in a fully-secured environment.
WayPoint is another on-line portal to apply, pay, and print compliance certificates such as WRC and BCLC which must be renewed annually. The larger the fleet the greater the workload — WayPoint reduces processing time and net cost of the certificates.
Liberia is a leader in technical innovation, recognized by organizations of experts. Among these is the E-ORB system, top choice for 2017 of Lloyd’s List-Americas, Lloyd’s List-Asia and NAMEPA for reliably identifying risks and helps owners prepare for PSC inspectors, CBT for cyber and ship security.
Leo M. Bolivar has guided Marino World on the island republic’s views. Bolivar is the Country Manager of International Registries (Far East), a representative office in Manila affiliated with the Marshall Island Maritime and Corporate Registries.
The latter provides administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands maritime registry and non-resident domestic corporate programs. More info and online services are at www.register-iri.com.
Following their internal protocol on external communications, Bolivar asked their Seafarers’ Division and Marketing and Communications Department in Reston for them to answer.
EMSA has never requested to audit since the Republic of Marshall Island (RMI) is an “Open Register” and not a major supplier of labor to the industry. Also, there are very few maritime training schools in the Marshall Islands proper.
The RMI just completed an independent verification audit of STCW processes by an IMO recognized competent person, a representative of Transport Canada. No non-conformities were discovered in the latest audit.
RMI offers seafarer documentations. Seven of its 27 offices worldwide are authorized to issue STCW documentation which include Manila.
All STCW certificates of competency, endorsement, and proficiency are issued by RMI offices, also certificates that allow service on offshore units and on RMI flagged mega yachts.
These are available on-site and on-line once applicant is fully vetted and associated documentation has been verified. EMSA has never issued any rejection on RMI certifications.
RMI has consistently been shown on the IMO-Paris MOU “White List” of compliant vessels, fully compliant with all applicable IMO Conventions for seafarer training and safety.
RMI believes her Shipping Registry offers better quality and service. Offices around the world are staffed with maritime and port state professionals enabling her to supply owners and operators with the information, documentation, and expertise to safely and efficiently operate in all waters around the globe.
Marshall Islands takes faith in the Human Element to safeguard seafarers and ships, to protect the marine environment. Appropriate manning and training are vital to the maritime industry.