‘Usapang STCW’ is the best venue for queries, clarification and enlightenment

USAPANG STCW: Discussion on audit of maritime institutes that left about 24 out of 91 schools, which may or may not avail of the Enhanced Support Level Program. Answering questions from guests are, from right, MARINA administrator Dr. Maximo Mejia Jr and Atty. Jabeth Sena Jepath Dacanay, STCWO Deputy Executive Director. The forum takes place every Tuesday, 2pm-4pm at the Marina Lounge.

A REGULAR, weekly forum every Tuesday from 2pm to 4pm, Usapang STCW is a venue for all inquiries, clarification and enlightenment regarding MARINA’s direction towards a stronger maritime nation that moves the world. MARINA Administrator Maximo Q. Mejia Jr. explains the stepped up programs the agency addresses, including summations on mid-term and long-term goals for the maritime industry.

The involvement in this forum of maritime school administrators, maritime executives, the seafarers, export-import traders and other stakeholders is expected to rise as positive changes continue to take shape.Meanwhile, MARINA, after the enactment of Republic Act No. 10635, exercises these powers and functions:

  • (a) Acts as the single and central maritime administration for all purposes relating to compliance with the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) Convention.
  • (b) Administers and ensures the effective implementation of the STCW Convention; including all international conventions or agreements implementing or applying the same, as well as international maritime safety conventions or agreements that it seeks to promote compliance with.
  • (c) Assumes all powers and functions of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) relative to the issuance, validation, verification, correction, revocation or cancellation of certificates of competency, endorsement, proficiency and documentary evidence required of all seafarers and all such other matters pertaining to the implementation of the STCW Convention, subject to the following:

(1) The MARINA shall ensure that the examination, licensing and certification system for marine deck and engine officers are in accordance with the requirements prescribed under the STCW Convention. All powers, duties and functions of the PRC on examination, licensing and certification system for marine deck and engine officers as provided in Republic Act No. 8544, otherwise known as “The Philippine Merchant Marine Officers Act of 1998,” shall henceforth be exercised by the MARINA. The compensation and allowances of the Board of Marine Deck Officers and Marine Engine Officers under Article IV, Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8544 shall, however, be comparable to the compensation and allowances being received by the chairpersons and members of other existing regulatory boards under the PRC and as provided in the General Appropriations Act.

(2) The MARINA shall adopt rules and regulations, in accordance with the STCW Convention, governing able-bodied deck and engine ratings including:

  • (i) Monitoring and verification of compliance with the standards of ratings;
  • (ii) Harmonization of the procedures for periodic evaluation, assessment and monitoring activities undertaken by accredited institutions with registered programs for ratings; and
  • (iii) Issuance of certificates of proficiency to ratings.

(3) The MARINA shall ensure that all legal and administrative measures relative to the issuance of certi cates of competency of GMDSS radio operators are in accordance with the STCW Convention. For this purpose, the MARINA shall assess, revalidate and issue GMDSS radio operator’s certificate in accordance with the provisions under the STCW Convention.

(4) The MARINA shall ensure that all maritime education, including the curricula and training programs, are structured and delivered in accordance with the written programs, methods and media of delivery, procedures, and course materials compliant with international standards as prescribed under the STCW Convention. For this purpose, the MARINA shall:

  • (i) Chair the Technical Panel on Maritime Education (TPME) of the CHED; the TPME shall among others, formulate, review and recommend to the CHED en banc all policies, standards, and guidelines for maritime education, including curricula, facilities and guidelines;
  • (ii) Monitor and verify, in coordination with the CHED, compliance with the policies, standards, and guidelines of maritime education in the conduct of maritime education and training programs;
  • (iii) Review and harmonize the procedures for periodic evaluation, assessment and monitoring of all maritime education and training institutions in accordance with the standards of the CHED and other recognized international organizations;
  • (iv) Develop, formulate and recommend for implementation, strict quality assurance mechanisms and relevant typology for maritime education programs and institutions;
  • (v) Recommend to the CHED en banc the closure/phase-out of substandard maritime education institutions, in accordance with the rules and regulations, as well as recommend alternative schemes or options for the affected maritime educational institution;
  • (vi) Maintain an updated list of compliant and phased-out maritime education and training programs, publish such lists in appropriate media, and provide the public with a clear understanding of the consequences of enrolling in a phased-out program;

(5) The MARINA shall coordinate with the DOH to ensure that the medical standards established to ascertain the medical fitness of seafarers are in accordance with the international conventions/treaties and existing laws. For this purpose, the MARINA shall:

  • (i) Ensure that the medical examinations and issuance of medical certificates by the DOH accredited hospitals, medical clinics, and laboratories, including medical practitioners are in accordance with the standards prescribed by the STCW Convention; and
  • (ii) Ensure that medical certificates are issued by a duly-qualified medical practitioner recognized by and accredited with the DOH, and for this purpose, a register of recognized medical practitioners shall be maintained and made available to seafarers, shipping companies and State parties to the STCW Convention.

The MARINA shall issue the required implementing rules and regulations in accordance with the provisions of this Act within six (6) months from its effectivity in which the MARINA shall ensure that the processes and procedures for issuance, validation, verification, correction, revocation, or cancellation of certificates of competency, endorsement, proficiency and documentary evidence required of seafarers under the STCW Convention shall be the most efficient and convenient way for the seafarers including, but not limited to, the establishment of one-stop shop arrangements, computerization and automation, and elimination of redundant fees and charges.