On the IMO White List: WHAT’S THE REAL SCORE?
MARINA OIC Administrator Narciso Vingson, Jr., spoke last March 23 at the VMA Global College commencement exercises with the usual inspiring message. Nothing controversial, nothing for the maritime industry, despite some shipowners and owners’ representatives are all ears.
Even in the ambush interview by Marino World, the former vice-admiral was curt and surprised on having to clarify whether the Philippines is de-listed from the Intl Maritime Organization (IMO) “White List” (of countries compliant with IMO standards).
His quick response: “Wala naman yun eh… January 2019 compliant pa tayo wala tayong problema… Kaya nga yung balita na yun bakit kaya lumabas yun.” (That’s nothing, January 2019 we are already compliant, we have no problem. I am even surprised of that news.)
Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade says any press conference on the issue of IMO de-listing is premature since there are no document to base issues from.
On March 21, MARINA planned a press briefing on the IMO Independent Evaluation of the Philippines' Compliance with the STCW Convention for Seafarers 1978. Vingson and Virme Torralba (OIC Exec Director- STCW Office) was to lead it but was cancelled.
Instead, consecutive press releases were issued March 20, 21 and 24 assuring the Philippines is still included in the IMO “White List, ” signifying the nation’s compliance with international maritime standards.
The “White List” refers to parties confirmed by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to have communicated information that demonstrates the full and complete effect that is given to the relevant provisions of the STCW.
The DOTr-MARINA is taking the necessary steps to consistently improve the country’s maritime education, training, examination, and assessment system.
Tugade was even dramatic, “Dugo’t pawis ang puhunan ng ating mga marino sa kanilang trabaho. Hindi matatawaran ang sakripisyo at karangalang ibinibigay nila sa bayan…” (Blood and sweat are capital of mariners in their job. We cannot under-estimate sacrifices and honor given by them to our nation).
Tugade rans opposite the claim on March 18 in a national broadsheet authored by the president of a maritime journalist group.
Fears are on a crescendo when this broadsheet published the country “risks dropping out of global maritime list.”
Jobs of some 400,000 seafarers and the country’s good standing in the global maritime community are at stake due to the supposed failure to comply with global reporting standards.
Supposedly, this was learned from industry sources and a copy of a document containing the minutes of a meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) during its sixth session this year.
It indicates “the Philippines could be excluded from the IMO “White List.”
The Philippines was included in the White List for the third time when it was last released in 2011. The revised list in Annex 2 of the IMO document obtained by same broadsheet did not include the Philippines.
Capt. Joseph Raluta, Director, BSM Maritime Training Center, concurs with MARINA:
“This has been a hot topic even from our clients and principals as we are bombarded with clarificatory messages. Nevertheless we as one voice tell them that our Administration never fails conduct their obligation as a signatory to the convention.”
Raluta hopes “… this “FAKE” news should stop.”
Raluta is a member of the Nautical Institute holding consultative status with IMO. During the HTW 6 Conference, the IMO Secretariat (in relation to STCW Regulation I/7) reminded all Administrations on their obligations.
HTW 6/12 is not basis of the White List.
The proper IMO document is “MSC.1 - Circular relating to general information disseminated by the Maritime Safety Committee on safety matters”, constantly updated through revisions.
For the record.
MSC.1-Circ.1163-Rev.11 – This 11th revision dated 14 December 2018 clearly includes the Philippines as “Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, confirmed by the Maritime Safety Committee to have communicated information which demonstrates that full and complete effect is given to the relevant provisions of the Convention”.
MSC.1-Circ.1164-Rev.20 – This 20th revision dated 16 January 2019 in response to the HTW 6/12, MSC has reported an inventory of all parties to the Convention and further clarifies the status of each administration.
Raluta believes MARINA’s 2nd cycle report should be communicated and it would be good for industry experts to help. MARINA, on the other hand, should be open to all help it can get.
March 19 on the same broadsheet, United Filipino Seafarers president Nelson Ramirez said MARINA was “unreliable” in shouldering all the responsibilities it had inherited from the abolished Maritime Training Council (MTC) of the Dept of Labor and Employment and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“If the seafaring industry will sink, there is no one to be blamed but MARINA. You took over the job of the MTC and PRC and you said that you could grip it. Look what happened? This is the start of a catastrophe looming to happen…”
Republic Act 10635 overhauled in 2014 MARINA’s mandate. The agency assumed the powers, duties and functions of PRC in the examination, licensing and certification of marine deck and engine officers, MARINA being the Single Maritime Administration for the implementation and enforcement of the 1978 STCW.
As Raluta claims, HTW 6/12 of February 22, 2019 is not where the White List is based on.
Of the 129 listed in MSC.1/Circ.1163/Rev.11, 54 are included in the Revised List in Accordance with STCW Regulation I/7.3.2, 75 countries including the Philippines with due dates of next report to be communicated to the Sec-Gen until 2018, were delisted.
Only 7, Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Kribati, Morocco, Poland and Turkey, were retained in the revised list. All of the other 43 countries with due dates of next report in 2019-2023, are still included in the Revised List in accordance with STCW Regulation I/7.3.2.
Compliance of the Philippines with Independent Evaluation (Regulation I/8):
- Feb 3, 2009 – date report communicated to the Sec-Gen
- Feb 3, 2014 – due date of next report to be communicated to the Sec-Gen
MSC.1/Circ. 1164/Rev.20, 16 January 2019
On STCW regulation I/7, Para 3, the Committee confirmed that the STCW Parties listed in the Sec-Gen’s report, which had communicated their report of independent evaluation I/8, Para 3, demonstrated that they were continuing to give full and complete effect to provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention.
The list in the Annex contains those STCW Parties, confirmed to have communicated information pursuant to STCW Regulation I/7, demonstrating they were giving full and complete effect to the 1978 STCW Convention, and indicating:
.1 Due date of next report of independent evaluation;
.2 Date of report of independent evaluation communicated to the Sec-Gen; and
.3 Outcome of the Committee’s consideration of the Sec-Gen’s report on the evaluation of information communicated by STCW Parties pursuant to Regulation I/8, Para 3, of the 1978 STCW Convention.
More to do.
- The Parties shall communicate as soon as practicable to the Sec-Gen:
- Text of laws, decrees, orders, regulations and instruments promulgated within the scope of the Convention;
- Full details, where appropriate, of contents and duration of study courses, together with their national examination and other requirements for each certificate issued in compliance with the Convention;
- Enough specimen certificates issued in compliance with the Convention.
- The Sec-Gen shall notify all Parties of receipt of any communication under Para (1)(a) and, inter alia, for the purposes of Articles IX and X, shall, on request, provide with any information sent to the Sec-Gen under Paras (1)(b) and (c).
It is also observed that as an IMO member State, Philippine fundamental responsibilities and obligations are to comply with the requirements of Article IV / Reg. I/7 – Communication of Information, including Reg. I/6 - Training and Assessment and Reg. I/8 - Quality Standards.
President Edwin Itable of the Masters and Mates Association (MMAP) circulated a position:
- Lapses to comply with the submission of its compliance report is not a big issue neither a big deal to panic.
- MSC.1/Circ.1449 is spoon feeding and self-explanatory, quoting the late Capt. George Pimentel, (IMO competent person).
Capt. Itable believes the maritime industry is looking forward how MARINA would pin down the culprit that divulged such to the media.
He also takes exception that during the Orientation/ Workshop/ Seminar on the new STCW Circulars/Guidelines on Assessment of Competence 11 March 2019, MARINA’s Jonrey Calderon “vehemently denies” awareness on MARINA Competence Assessment Blueprint (MCAB); the MCAB meet should have not been cancelled by Atty. Manlapaz, MARINA/STCWO.
Itable also detailed misgivings with Calderon regarding the latter’s response to Itable’s push for seminars to resolve concerns; to review, verify and validate updating/refresher courses in compliance in Reg.I/11, STCW Convention; and further review and verification of PAMTCI, JMG and other stakeholders.
Marino World requested an interview with Calderon but he declined he is not the authorized spokesperson for MARINA; that such inquiry should be directed to the Administrator Office.
Section A-1/7 of Regulation I/7 on Communication of information:
1. Regulation I/7, Para 1 requires info to be sent to the Sec-Gen in these formats:
(Part 1 – Initial communication of information)
2. Within one calendar year of entry into force of Regulation I/7, each Party shall report on steps has taken to give the Convention full and complete effect, including:
.1 Contact details and organization chart of the ministry, dept or governmental agency responsible for administering the Convention;
.2 Concise explanation of the legal and administrative measures provided and taken to ensure compliance, particularly with Regulations I/2, I/6 and I/9;
.3 Clear statement of the education, training, examination, competency assessment and certification policies adopted;
.4 Concise summary of the courses, training programmes, examinations and assessments provided for each certificate issued pursuant to the Convention;
.5 Concise outline of the procedures followed to authorize, accredit or approve training and examinations, medical fitness and competency assessments required by the Convention, the conditions attached and a list of the authorizations, accreditations and approvals granted;
.6 Concise summary of the procedures followed in granting any dispensation under Article VII of the Convention; and
.7 Results of the comparison carried out pursuant to Regulation I/11 and a concise outline of the refresher and upgrading training mandated.
MARINA assures starting April 2019, international maritime experts will conduct an independent evaluation as part of the Philippines’ continuing compliance with the pertinent provisions, particularly Regulation I/8 or in the area of Quality Standards, of STCW, 1978.
As a State Party to the STCW Convention, the Philippines is mandated to ensure that an evaluation is periodically undertaken by qualified persons who are not involved in the implementation of this regulatory instrument in the country.
The evaluation is aimed at providing an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the quality standard arrangements at all levels.
Vingson is confident that the evaluation of the country’s STCW system will solidify the Philippine inclusion in the “White List” of the IMO.
The retired Vice Admiral says, “Our engagement with the professional services of independent evaluators shows our full efforts in maintaining our seafarer’s reputation worldwide as a dependable maritime workforce. We will continue to comply with IMO standards…”
The results of next month’s evaluation will form part of the regular Communication of Information of the Philippines to the IMO as required under Regulation I/7 of the Convention.
Calderon, MARINA OIC Research and Development Division, said at the PNBC Maritime Committee and NTC Forum held at NTC-M, Pasay City, February 13, “We are expecting the European Commission (EC) as confirmed in the latest communication.”
This is another albatross, the threat the European Union may no longer honor Philippine certifications due to shortfalls and “observations” (minor shortfalls) as detailed in the Assessment of Compliance of the Maritime Education, Training and Certification System of the Philippines with the STCW Convention.
This 45-page formality was based on European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) report, particularly on Section 4.1, addressed to the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport, Directorate D-Waterborne, acknowledged by Directive 2008/106/EC2.
Calderon expects the party headed by Director for Waterborne Transport Magda Kopczynska who says more EU member States want to join “to see for themselves the progress of implementation of EO 63…” based on the timeline submitted. They may come about the second week of April, this year.