Cold comfort from Manila’s STCW reform
Posted on Monday 31st March 2014


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


‘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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Bracing for an EU ban on Filipino officers
Posted on Thursday 30th January 2014


Even Maritime Administrator Maximo Mejia Jr will admit that the European Commission (EC) has strong grounds for derecognising Philippine seafarer certificates. Contrary to what fools believed, the final audit conducted in 2013 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) did not turn out well. The country’s system of maritime education and STCW administration is still in a shambles.
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Tough decision for EU on Filipino crews
Posted on Tuesday 28th January 2014


The European Commission (EC) is to decide soon on whether or not to continue recognising Philippine seafarer certificates. After the third and last audit conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in 2013, the matter should be settled fairly quickly. How difficult can it be? It’s either the country has given full and complete effect to the STCW Convention, or it has not. The EMSA inspectors and others who are informed and unbiased know the answer.
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Maritime dreams and wishes for 2014
Posted on Tuesday 14th January 2014

Flower Clouds, 1903 pastel work by Odilon Redon

It must be the Don Quixote in us. For all the bad things we see, we continue to hope that the world of shipping will change for the better – not dramatically, but slowly and perhaps even subtly. As the American writer John Steinbeck once wrote, ‘Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.’ Here’s what we wish for in 2014:
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