Tuesday, October 18, 2005

International shipping firms prefer Filipino seafarers, MARINA says

Dumaguete City, Philippines
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Competence and skills make Filipino seafarers the most sought-after in the international shipping industry despite the low labor rates by their counterparts from China, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh, Maritime Industry Authority regional director Glenn Cabañez said at the recent Kapihan sa PIA.

This was held in line with the National Maritime Week celebration on the theme "A Globally Competitive Maritime Industry: A Key to a Strong Republic." Officer-in-charge, Evelia Durato, of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration agreed with Cabañez that the Philippines is still the manning capital of the world in exporting qualified seafarers.

In 2002, the country deployed about 209,593 seafarers abroad and since then, the number of deployment has increased by 2.3 percent every year, Durato added. She also aired the same concern over the low salary rates particularly to Chinese seafarers.

She said that a Chinese seafarer with an ordinary seaman rank is paid only US$ 50/month compared to his Filipino counterpart with wages between US $200-300/month. Filipino seafarers rank fourth in the largest number of deployed Overseas Filipino Workers. Skilled workers, medical professionals, and domestic workers follow.

Cabañez said they will soon issue separate licensures to seafarers in the domestic and international shipping industry under different criteria and qualifications.

In order to help the domestic shipping sector hire only qualified and competent seafarers, the MARINA-7 also issues qualifying document certificates.*RG

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