The Western Shipping South East Asia Inc. recently celebrated its 14th Anniversary and 12th Family Day with traditional fun and bonding to tighten the teamwork of management and operations, of seafarers to their families.
Practically, it’s a four-affair event: crew conference, inaugural, anniversary and family day.
Rooted in 2004 as Western Shipping-Southeast Asia, it has processed, employed and deployed thousands of Filipino seafarers onboard vessels owned and/or managed by its principal. Today, this averages 430 hands at any time on international bulk and tanker fleets.
A day earlier was historic for Western Shipping, the inauguration and blessing of the advanced ECDIS and GMDSS simulator room.
The facility is at the 18th floor, Prestige Tower on Emerald street, Ortigas district, Pasig City of Metro Manila. It complements existing simulator facilities that include Full Mission Navigation Bridge, Full mission Engine Room & Full mission Liquid and Gas cargo simulators.
Guests were taken around the WSPMTC facilities to show the advanced level of training provided for the Filipino Seafarers.
In addition, the guests were impressed with the Resource Centre facilities that provide professional books/publications in a quiet environment. The Laptops provided in the training center connects the seafarers to the world of maritime knowledge and training.
As an IMEC/AMOSUP sponsored project, all seafarers who are employed by IMEC member companies enjoys special fees to undertake training here.
The training facilities provided by WSPMTC include various upgrading training including Marina STCW courses.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by following dignitaries:
- VAdm Narciso Vingson, Jr., MARINA OIC and other government officials
- Conrado Oca, President (Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union-AMOSUP) and VP-Intl Affairs Johnny M. Oca, Jr.;
- Lara Stafilopati of Byzantine Maritime Corporation of Greece with Crewing Manager Dimitris Davaris and DPA Dimitris Vlamis;
- Michael Estaniel, Phil Rep. (Intl Maritime Employers Council-IMEC) and Training Manager Dan Aldrich Tolentino;
- Diofonce Tunacao, Director (Phil Association of Maritime Training Centers -PAMTCI);
- The Filipino Association of Maritime Employers (FAME); the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) and senior officers and operational level staff of Western Shipping-Southeast Asia and WSPMTC-Phil.
- Belal Ahmed, Managing Director (Western Shipping-Singapore) and Fleet Personnel Manager Capt. Rukshan Vohra
President of WSSI and WSPMTC RAdm Bayani Gaerlan together with Training Centre senior officials were present to brief the guest and seafarers who were present.
A retired Navy Rear Admiral, Gaerlan speaks of a challenge: “With all these facilities and equipment at hand, we at the management level should aim to attain a reputation of being the best breeder and supplier of well-trained seafarers in the Philippines.”
He is cautious but certain: “I believe this is attainable in the near future.”
To the family of the crew, “I encourage you to support your loved ones when they are at sea. Don’t give them worries and problems because these affect their work and even their safety. We at the manning office are your extended family. We are willing to assist you whenever.”
Capt. Belal – Worldwide Transition from paper to full electronic charts had been completed and passed baseline safety. However we have observed that many advanced ECDIS features are not used by our Navigating officer due to lack of high level training and knowledge “… This facility is built primarily to upgrade our navigators to learn advanced skills… to harness the many advanced features available in modern ECDIS.”
He believes “On board communication is an important part in safe navigation. Our new GMDSS simulators will provide necessary skills to our officers by using the latest technology available.
Our aim is to ensure Filipino seafarers using the facilities at WSP Maritime Training Centre, will bring pride to the nation with high standards of safety.”
Dr. Oca was bullish, declaring, “We’re just happy that we can partner with Western Shipping. Of course, if it’s for the benefit, for the training and for the improvement of our Filipino seafarers, we’re all for it.”
VAdm Vingson, Jr. was basically grateful: “It’s not the question of quantity, it is now the question of quality so we have to produce world-class and quality seafarers. So thank you very much for your facilities here to help in producing world-class Filipino seafarers.”
Gaerlan retired after 37 years, started as a cadet (Phil Military Academy Maharlika ’84, Cum Laude and Starman). He took Small Scale Industries from the Univ of the Phil, a degree in Civil Engineering and Project Management.
He took extensive Navy courses, highlighted by the Combined Force Maritime Component Commanders Flag-rank course in Hawaii; the 1956 General Staff course of the US Naval War College in Rhode Island.
He handled Naval command posts, notably Chief of Naval Staff and Commander, Phil Fleet. Alongside, he represented the Navy (PN), Armed Forces (AFP) and Defense (DND) in dialogues and multi and bilateral concerns with Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.
Among other honors, Gaerlan earned the PMA-Alumni Cavalier Award for Naval Operations; in 2002, Naval Education and Training Command Officer-Instructor of the Year; in 2004, The Outstanding Phil Soldier (TOPS) Award.
He is now president of Western Shipping- Southeast Asia and affiliate, WSPMTC.