After giving zero payments for first-time SRB applicants and a 50% discount for renewals last January 01, 2022, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has made another move that will greatly reduce the burdens of our seafarers.
Last February 4, 2022, MARINA released Advisory No. 2022-08 concerning additional guidelines on the application and issuance of STCW Certificates.
The advisory gave three changes in the way we apply and claim our Certificate of Proficiency (COP) via MISMO.
Two of them will be effective in the coming months while the third one is still subject to approval of the MARINA Board.
Let us discuss them here.
1. Effective 15 February 2022, the release of certificates will be automatically sent to the MISMO Account of the Seafarers and can be printed in A4 size bond paper at their convenience upon approval of the applications through MISMO and receipt of the corresponding fees.
Our Certificate of Proficiency (COP) will be released directly to our MISMO account after passing all the required documents. MARINA will only give us a digital copy of our COP.
Currently, our COPs are printed using a special paper from MARINA which is distinctly recognizable. On February 15, our COPs will be printed on A4-sized bond paper anywhere you like.
Even your manning agency can print a copy of your COP if they need one.
2. Effective 01 April 2022, personal appearance for regular application is no longer required when applying for STCW-related documents, except on instances where submitted documents need to be clarified and the processing of Expedite Applications.
Currently, we have to set a schedule in our MISMO account and head to MARINA come hell or high water to process and release our COP.
If we miss that appointment, we have to pay again and find a suitable schedule which could be two months away.
When this Advisory comes into force on April 01, 2022, a personal appointment to MARINA is no longer required. Everything will be done online. You can even do this in the comfort of your home!
Only expedited application still needs to present themselves to MARINA as well as those submissions that require clarification.
3. As if they’re not finished yet, MARINA also reduced the costs for processing our COPs and COCs inclusive of documentary stamp tax.
Just look at the image below. When approved, more than 50% of the fees are reduced giving us huge savings, especially this pandemic.
I think the cost saved from printing to manpower, utilities, and maintaining the facilities of MARINA is passed down to us seafarers.
Note that the mark down payment is NOT YET ENFORCED. It is still under approval from the board.
Pros and Cons
This brings a lot of benefits to us seafarers especially those who are living in provinces far from any MARINA Office.
- We don’t need to go to MARINA and risk having COVID. This actually saves us time, energy, and money.
- Less hassle on our side. I dislike the struggle of going to MARINA with other hundreds of applicants. Even waking up early morning just to get within the top 100 of the list.
- Technology is created to speed things up for more output. Through this, we are utilizing it the right way. Hope other government agencies learn from this example.
- If our COP is lost, damaged, or stolen, we don’t need to submit documents again to MARINA and redo the hassle of face-to-face appointments. Just log in to MISMO and print your COP.
- Applying to other companies will be much easier as we can send them the digital copy of our COPs.
- Even our shipping company can print our COP for us!
- It would be hard to create, print, and submit fake COPs since we can verify these documents on the MISMO website.
- Fixers will be reduced.
- And for the ocean’s sake! Learn how to do this instead of paying a thousand pesos for online fixers.
- This improvement is still new. We should expect some bumps along the way.
- Our COPs won’t have that “professional look” especially when compared with other nations. But hey, we’re digital!
- What if MISMO can’t handle the traffic or suddenly goes offline? It’s possible but I think they have plans once this happens.
- What if your MISMO gets hacked?
May the winds be in your favor.