Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) has completed acceptance of the M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca, highlighting the cooperative effort of four industry groups.
The final phase was the commissioning at Pier 13 of the Manila South Harbor.
MAAP Pres. Eduardo Ma. R. Santos accepted the vessel from the Intl Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ), Phil-Japan Manning Consultative Council (PJMCC), All-Japan Seamen’s Union (AJSU) and the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Phils (AMOSUP).
Vice Admiral Santos (AFP-Ret), in his welcome remarks, recalled key ceremonies:
- August 8th, christened by Ms. Marissa Oca
- August 9th, launched by Ms. Yvette Oca from Miho shipyard
- December 25th, turnover to the four groups led by IMMAJ after the vessel passed construction review and sea trials
- January 17, 2019, vessel formal turnover to MAAP
- January 31st, commissioning of the dedicated training ship
Santos claims a “historic footnote” in that the project is the “… legacy of our visionary chairman and founder, Capt. Gregorio Sta. Cruz Oca, (who) will forever be immortalized in this ship whose name she bears.”
Commissioning is a cherished maritime tradition, meaning placing the ship in active service for the owner, ready to commence operations. Earlier ceremonies are keel laying, christening, launching, culminating in commissioning which welcomes the ship into the fleet.
Three years back, Santos says IMMAJ, AJSU, AMOSUP and PJMCC decided to enhance the shipboard competence of the cadets by donating a new training ship to MAAP.
This is the M/V KGO which can berth 108 cadets, a crew of 24 with six onboard instructors, a ratio of 18-1 student-to-instructor to be amended as ship’s officers with, at least, a year teaching experience will instruct on-board.
Santos underscores the crew “… will conduct the training, the mentoring and the monitoring of all the activities of the cadets. This ship shall, therefore, serve as the floating laboratory of our students.
We hope that we will achieve the noble purpose of this ship for which it was built and donated and that is to maintain and surpass the standards of development and capability of Filipino seafarers.”
The MAAP president emphasized the importance of experiential learning, quoting Chinese philosopher Confucius, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I learn.” Learning by doing maximizes understanding in concrete and measurable ways.
Santos believes, “The learning environment in both M/V Kapitan Felix Oca and M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca are the best complementary learning platform from our students and our mentors alike. We’re confident by exposing our students to more hours, of rigorous and structured shipboard training, we upgrade and raise the standards of their seamanship, their navigational and their engineering skills and competence.”
M/V KFO is the first vessel of MAAP, named after Capt. Gregorio’s father.
The training vessel is for use of IMMAJ cadets, future seafarers for this organization composedof 94 Japanese crewing agencies, ship managers, and shipowners supporting non-Japanese seafarers on about 2,200 Japanese ocean-going merchant fleet with 46,000 hands, 75% of whom are Filipino nationals.
M/V KGO is 70 million type training vessel owned by MAAP, sold by Tsuneishi Shipbuilding, built by Miho Shipyard. Keel laying was completed April 10, 2018 for these Principal Particulars:
Length over all, 78.60m; Length between P.P., 70.00m; Breadth molded, 12.00m; Depth molded, 5.55m/ 8.05m; Draft molded, 4.99m; Gross tonnage, 2.098tons; Sea speed, 13.8 knots (output: 85% MCR, Sea margin: 0%); Complement, 138P (Crew: 24P, Trainer: 6P, Cadet: 108P)
The main engine is from Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing (6DKM-26eL (1.471kW); so with a set of auxiliary engine (6DE-18 (530kW); two sets radio equipment from Furuno Electric; Design, Bulbous bow, Double continuous deck.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles was the guest of honor joined by industry luminaries as Dr. Conrad Oca and family, Col. Robby Oca of the South Harbor, IMO Ambassador Carlos Salinas, officers of IMMAJ, AJSU, PJMCC.
Senior government officials attended: SAP Jesus Melchor Quitain, PN Vice Admiral Robert, PCG Commandant Elson Hermogino, POEA Deputy Administrator Jocelyn Sanchez, Naval Reserve Commander General Hidalgo, MARINA OIC Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson, Jr., DOLE U/Secs Maglunsod and Renato Evare, former Labor Secretaries Marianito Roque and Bienvenido Laguesma.
Majors from the private sector are Magsaysay CEO Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Intl Maritime Employers Council Chair Rajesh Tandon and representatives from the Joint Manning Group,
Intl Transport Workers Federation, Japan Intl Cooperation Agency (JICA), Embassy of Japan, Danish Shipowners Association.
Shipboard Training Director Cleto del Rosario read the commission order of M/V KGO and designation of officers and crew under MAAP Special Order No. 006 which is:
- In line with IMMAJ, AJSU, PJMCC and AMOSUP agreement
- In pursuant of IMO A1047 (27) and
- In accordance MARINA Memo Circular 148.
VAdmiral Santos named Capt. Remeo B. Napinas and nine others, C/E Julieto S. Labisores and six others, with Napinas reporting “… the ship’s officers and crew are present, ready to man the ship, set the first watch, man the rails.”
To which Santos barked the order: “Capt. Napinas, man the ship, start your engines, raise the Philippine flag, set the first watch!”
And the Navy band blared, playing the jolly Leron Leron Sinta.
Inspirational remarks followed, then guests toured the ship, enjoyed cocktails.
Sec. Nograles proclaimed “We all stand to benefit from the commissioning of one of the country’s largest training ships – the M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca…..a truly remarkable vessel befitting a sector that has been helping our country grow and flourish for decades. It is common knowledge in government that the maritime sector and beyond our shores, the Filipino seafarers are world-class.”
Nograles quoted POEA data showing 378,072 Filipino seafarers were deployed overseas, meaning close or third of the world seafarers are from the Philippines. He even claims a European shipping company, “has been hiring all Filipino crews for its tanker fleets since 2004” and Filipinos are the most sought after seafarers in the global shipping industry.
“Filipinos are the first choice to manage ships at sea from luxury to giant tankers. Because of the sheer number of Filipino seafarers working abroad, it is not surprising that out of every US$100 in personal cash remittances that the country receives, US$20 comes from overseas Filipinos.
Bangko Central ng Pilipinas says Filipino sailors sent home US$1.9 billion from January to April 2018 alone.”
Nograles sees M/V KGC as “not just a modern training ship, it is a symbol of MAAP’s commitment to pursue the highest level of excellence in maritime training and education. It also represents our government’s resolve to promote the highest standards of safety and professionalism in the maritime industry.
In the end, it is the Filipino seafarer who shall benefit from our investments in shipping technologies and infrastructures. Equipped and empowered, our sailors can venture further out into the world’s vast seas, conquer new territories and continue to excel among seafarers of the world as Filipino champions of the oceans.”
AJSU Pres. Yasumi Morita says the “ training ship project has been accomplished by cooperation of the four parties – the labor and the management, the vessel ownership country and the labor and the management of seafarer supply country in the international labor management relations.
Morita recalls Capt Oca joined the Intl Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in 1972 after establishing AMOSUP in 1960 and made great effort to improve the life of Filipino seafarers.
“This project is in line with ITF policy and we will continue “…the alliance between the vessel ownership countries and seafarer supply countries and ITF.” He expects such will be followed and be a model of the relations between Japan and the Philippines.
PJMCC Chairman Eduardo Manese opened to an applause when he confided, “ my medical supervisor said I should not leave the house but I cannot miss this occasion… You know this commissioning ceremony is like a dream” come true.
Manese revisits those days he and Capt. Oca searched for a training ship, flew to Oraga, Japan and readily took the M/V Seiun I Maru from a broker. But this (referring to M/V KGO) “new modern one really was the very big help for us. To us in the industry we can assure you that our job is we all send qualified and competent crew and we will do our best to do that.”
IMMAJ Chairman Koichi Akamine is “truly proud of this ship – the ultimate display of the long time commitment, cooperation and partnership of shipping industry in the Philippines and Japan. Our discussion about a new training ship started in 2014 as we desire to further support the education of our Filipino cadets in MAAP and the aspiration to become world class maritime officers in the Japanese managed fleet.
We are truly grateful for the commitment and hardwork of the Filipino seafarers.”
Japan depends on trade for its economy and people’s lives. Over 99% of her trade is transported by ship; hence, safe navigation is crucial to sustaining the Japanese economy.
About 150 cadets and 600 are studying in IMMAJ. Senior cadets start this April on the training ship, hopefully contribute greatly to safe navigation of the Japanese merchant fleet.
AMOSUP Pres. Oca cracked the audience with his intro: “Those names of both training ships and my last name are purely coincidence.”
Dr. Oca then shifted to a serious mien in that “We always believe in the potential, perseverance and passion of aspiring Filipino seafarers but we also believe… to bring out the best in them, it takes comprehensive training coupled with discipline and hardwork.
We are one with many on our commitment to provide excellent maritime education to our students by equipping them with knowledge, technical skills and the necessary tools and opportunities to better hone their capabilities.”
He is thankful for the confidence of their partners which made M/V KGO a reality after a long and tedious process from the drawing board to the construction.
“For over 20 years our first ship, the Kapitan Felix Oca has been instrumental in producing thousands of well-equipped and competent Filipino seafarers who are now making waves in the maritime industry and now we are about to witness the M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca contribute to our mission to produce globally-competitive Filipino seafarers”
Deeply emotional, Dr. Oca intoned “The M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca will become an avenue for learning, experience and advancement among our young, aspiring seafarers before they set out, sail forward and take on the world.