MARINA Scraps Mandatory MLC, OLC, ETR, and ETO – a Huge Win for Filipino Seafarers

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | MARINA Updates, Training and Certification | 0 comments

After more than five years of implementation, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) finally ditches Management and Operational Level Courses (MLC and OLC).

Under the shipboard organization, this course is applicable to deck and engine officers only.

MARINA Advisory No. 2021-23 clarified that MLC and OLC as well as Electro-Technical Officers and Ratings courses (ETO & ETR) are not mandatory.

In summary, these are the training courses that are not part of the mandatory Training Courses for seafarers:

  1. Management Level Course (MLC) for Marine Deck and Engine Officers
  2. Operational Level Course (OLC) for Marine Deck and Engine Officers
  3. Electro-Technical Officers (ETO)
  4. Electro-Technical Ratings (ETO)
MARINA Advisory 2021-23
MARINA Advisory 2021-23.

What’s the basis for this?

Last April 2018, MARINA released a Circular to all concerned about the Standards for Mandatory Training Courses Under the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended.

It was titled STCW Circular No. 2018-02 Series of 2018.

With its five annexes, Annex I of that circular gives a List of STCW Mandatory Training Courses. MLC, OLC, ETO, and ETR were not on that list.

As a matter of fact, such courses were only implemented in the Philippines.

It took 3 years for MARINA to take action. Actually, it took seven years (since 2014) for them to realize that those courses are not meant to be out there.

You still have to take them if…

Under the same  Advisory, you still have to take the MLC, OLC, and ETO under ONE condition only.


Moreover, you are only mandated to take the training course on a fail-per-function basis.

In other words,

If you fail Function Two (F2) three times during your exam or assessment and successfully pass the other functions, you only need to take that specific function (in your MLC or OLC)!

The same guideline applies if you fail F1, F3, and F4.

This policy greatly saves money, effort, and vacation time for our seafarers as well as the discouragement it brings to those who want to pursue a career at sea.

Maintaining a proper lookout
Maintaining a proper lookout.

Why is this a huge win?

Seafarers have been complaining about the relevance of MLC, OLC, and the latest ETR and ETO. It is not only burdensome but many perceived it as a redundant attempt to milk our “modern-day heroes”.

Seaman’s salary may be good but with all that training, what’s left is sometimes not enough.

From what I remember, MLC and OLC were required for seafarers after they passed the theoretical exam.

This evolved into a much worse scenario when they deemed it mandatory for seafarers before they could take the licensure exam.

Additionally, it eases the hardship of seafarers, especially during this pandemic. This advisory is actually a good tandem with the pandemic advisories of MARINA.

Different colors of MLC and OLC

After the implementation of the normal MLC and OLC, a new “breed” of such courses was proposed.

These were the Updating Courses for MLC and OLC. It was introduced so that seafarers’ competencies are in line with the STCW 2010 Manila Amendments.

Of course, this training was not necessary since they are not included in the List of STCW Mandatory Training Courses for Seafarers.

Management Level Course (MLC) for Engine and Deck price and duration.
Management Level Course (MLC) for Engine and Deck price and duration.

How much did we save?

By abolishing those courses, here are the figures that we are able to save. Take note that these do not include boarding house fees, food, recreation, commute, and many others.

Management Level Course (MLC)

MLC Deck Functions 1, 2, and 3 are 45 days long! The tuition fee ranges from around Php16,000.00 to Php50,000.00.

MLC Engines do not fare better. It has 4 Functions and lasts up to 73 days! Tuition fee is around Php22,000.00 to Php60,000.00.

MLC Deck Updating has 2 Functions and is 10 days long. The tuition fee is around Php7,000.00.

MLC Engine Updating is again much worse with 4 Functions totaling 35 days. The tuition fee costs around Php13,000.00.

Operational Level Course (OLC) for Engine and Deck price and duration
Operational Level Course (OLC) for Engine and Deck price and duration.

Operational Level Course (OLC)

OLC has two parts for engine and deck officers- Part A and Part B.

OIC-NW Updating Part A consists of 2 Functions and a 10-day class. The tuition fee is around Php7,000.00.

OIC-NW Updating Part B has 3 Functions and is 23 days long. It costs around Php10,000.00.

Again, the engine department does not fare any better.

OIC-EW Updating Part A has 3 Functions and is 14 days long and costs somewhere at Php10.000.00.

OIC-EW Updating Part B consists also of 3 Functions. Its 27-day class is worth Php12,000.00.

What other courses do you think it’s redundant?

UPDATE 2023:
MARINA Advisory No. 2021-23 is revoked by MARINA ADVISORY NO. 2022  – 56 reiterating MLC, ETR, and ETO as MANDATORY courses!

May the winds be in your favor.



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