Foretelling an EU ban on Filipino officers
Posted on Wednesday 23rd April 2014

summer_haze

Like most people, we used to think that it would never happen. But we now foresee the EU temporarily banning Filipino officers from working on board EU-flagged ships except those already holding valid endorsement certificates. The reason for our believing so — which could invite brickbats from pseudo-nationalists — is simple. For the EU to continue with the status quo is to make a joke out of the 2013 audit conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the third since 2006 and supposedly the last one before an EU verdict.
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A timeless question on seafarers’ welfare
Posted on Monday 21st April 2014

Pietà_Vittoria_Colonna

Who would doubt that the world cares about seafarers? They’ve given more teeth to ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, with new amendments aimed at protecting abandoned seafarers and providing financial security for compensation in cases of death and long-term disability. They recently handed out the prestigious 2014 Seafarers’ Welfare Awards. And come the 25th of June, maritime folks will once again celebrate, with catchy slogans and pompous speeches, the Day of the Seafarer.
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Where are you in the maritime food chain?
Posted on Friday 18th April 2014

maritime_food_chain

We first learned about the food chain in grade school. What fascinated us then wasn’t so much the fact that the species at the top of the link fed on those below them. It was the idea of interconnectivity and interdependence in the natural world. Many years later, as a shipping and ports journalist, we would discover a more fascinating kind of food chain, one which continues to intrigue us to this day.
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Cold comfort from Manila’s STCW reform
Posted on Monday 31st March 2014

filipino_stcw_reform_RA10635

In normal times, we would have praised the new Philippine law (Republic Act No. 10635) which gives the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) sole authority over seafarer training and certification. Mariners in other countries fall under the aegis of a single agency. The UK has its MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency); the USA, its US Coast Guard; and India, its Directorate General of Shipping. But these are abnormal times, and RA10635 leaves us unimpressed for two reasons.
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Port of Manila: a myth debunked
Posted on Friday 28th February 2014

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MICT, Port of Manila

It’s a myth that lingers like the ugly city smog. ‘The Port of Manila is congested; ergo, shippers should use the Port of Batangas south of the Philippine capital instead.’ We heard the claim shouted in 2002-2005, when a new container terminal was being built under the Batangas Phase II project. We’re hearing it again in 2014. We’ve had enough. So has International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), operator of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).
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Female supremacy in the shipping world
Posted on Wednesday 26th February 2014

female_symbol_paper_boats

In the 21st century, the archaic idea persists that women are too weak and too emotional to serve as ship officers. Not all men, fortunately, think that way. Soon after our blog post ‘Hats off to women as ship captains‘ came out in December 2013, one chap sent us an e-mail with a reminder to our male chauvinist readers. There were two great women in history, he said, who did not command ships but did something more: they were shipowners.
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New Transas aid for avoiding pirates
Posted on Tuesday 25th February 2014

pirate_ship_worldmap

We often hear it said after a ship has been hijacked by pirates: ‘They were at the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Maybe so, but why look at piracy as a game of chance? Very often, the key to avoiding a piracy attack is to have the right information at the right time. Transas Marine aims to provide just that to the shipping industry by adding a Piracy Information Overlay (PIO) to the Transas FleetView Online SSAS-tracking software and Navi-Planner 4000 voyage planning software.
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SCI’s secret to simulator assessment
Posted on Thursday 20th February 2014

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Transas NTPRO 4000 simulator at SCI Houston facility

Is one-on-one simulator assessment economically feasible? If you ask the folks running The Seamen’s Church Institute‘s (SCI) Center for Maritime Education in Houston, Texas, the clear answer is yes. The facility used to host groups of 6-8 students as part of their company-sponsored training. Today it offers affordable individualised assessment, thanks to a Transas NTPRO 4000 which SCI acquired in the fall of 2013.
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EU ban on Filipino crews: pros & cons
Posted on Thursday 13th February 2014

EUdecision_filipino_crews

If it were a simple question of STCW compliance, the EU could decide tomorrow whether or not to continue recognising Philippine crew certificates. After all, it’s no secret that the 2013 audit conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) did not go well for the country – as did the previous audits in 2006 and 2010. But it’s a complicated issue.
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More on EU threat on Filipino crews
Posted on Friday 7th February 2014

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This week we posted the picture above in Facebook. It was better, we thought, than writing another article about the EU threat to ban Filipino ship officers. Marine Café Blog was actually the first to bring to light that threat (see Fire alarm at the Filipino seafarer factory). This was followed by numerous other blog posts on the subject. It can be pretty tiring, so why not just say it with pictures?
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ICTSI’s tactical play in West Africa
Posted on Thursday 6th February 2014

ictsi_lekki_nigeria

After 26 years on the chequered board of port operations, International Container Services Inc (ICTSI) has no doubt earned grandmaster status. The Filipino-owned company certainly showed its mettle when it recently sold 25% of Lekki International Container Terminal Services LFTZ Enterprise in Nigeria to CMA Terminals, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group. The deal, announced on 28th January, is what we might call a tactical move.
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Training films: rebranding Walport
Posted on Friday 31st January 2014

TRAININGLink_Walport

‘Everything changes and nothing remains still,’ wrote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And so, after 60 years, change has come to Walport following its acquisition by KVH Industries Inc. From 29th January 2014, the UK-based maritime training specialist has been rebranded as TRAININGLink. Its parent, Headland Media, is now known as KVH Media Group. Will the name-change have any impact on Walport and its products?
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