Filipino seafarers can breathe a sigh of relief as the European Commission (EC) has announced that it will continue to recognise their certificates, which are essential for their employment in the global maritime industry.
This decision was made possible by the serious efforts of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who met with EC President Ursula von der Leyen in December 2022 to resolve the long-standing issue.
The EC had threatened to withdraw its recognition of Filipino seafarers’ certificates in 2021, unless the Philippines complied with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers. This would have jeopardised the jobs of about 50,000 Filipino sailors who work on European vessels.
The Philippines, which is one of the world’s largest suppliers of maritime labour, has since taken significant steps to improve its education, training and certification system for seafarers, especially in key areas like the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment. The EC acknowledged these improvements and said it intends to provide technical assistance to further enhance the quality of Filipino seafarers.
President Marcos expressed his gratitude to the EC for its decision and said his administration will do everything to address all other challenges faced by the local maritime industry so that the Philippines can produce more world-class seafarers.
Filipino seafarers are among the millions of overseas Filipinos who send home more than $2.5 billion of their earnings each month, boosting consumer spending that drives growth of the domestic economy.