The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) headed by Atty. Hernani Fabia sternly considers reviving the much controversial Management Level Course for Filipino Officers.
According to the new Administrator, there was a finding by the Independent Evaluators that there is no evidence of formal education and training for management level officers.
He sternly believes that by re-implementing the MLC, we could avoid a fatal blow from IMO and save the Filipino seafarers from dropping out of their Whitelist.
IMO’s Whitelist recognizes nations that are compliant with the STCW 1978, as amended.
In a Joint Committee Meeting, Atty. Fabia stressed this by saying,
“I think we have to revive the MLC to comply with that. If others protest about it, then let them! Otherwise, we will not be included in the IMO whitelist. The Independent Evaluators stated that this is a killer finding”.
This statement triggered various negative responses from Filipino seafarers and concerned maritime professionals.
They noted that MLC was not on the menu during the previous Administrator even amidst the height of the EMSA audit.
The new MARINA Chief is also aware of an Advisory rescinding a circular about the MLC but he questions the legal basis of this action.
“There is an existing memorandum circular about the MLC, but it was rescinded by an advisory. There is a question of whether an advisory can rescind a circular.”
The advisory that repealed the mandatory MLC was MARINA Advisory No. 2021-23 Series of 2021.
MLC is not dead. It is currently implemented as reviewer training only if you fail three times on your theoretical exam. Other than that, it’s not mandatory.
The Marino Partylist
The commotion reached Marino Partylist representative Cong. Sandro Gonzales.
He stressed that they are already in consultation with MARINA about this issue.
However, he can’t do anything about it, for now, other than to look for an angle to tackle this issue properly.
Moreover, he emphasized that he would only act in accordance with legislation while weighing out the positions of stakeholders.
The Congressman was also curious whether this (MLC) is redundant since it was taken out in the first place.
Seafarers are protesting the comeback of this course in various social media outlets and on MARINA’s FB Page.
By reviving this training, it gives the impression that seafarers are, once again, “milking cows” for training centers.
Considering Atty. Fabia’s affiliation with PNTC (a school and training center) further reinforced that idea.
Former MARINA STCW Office Executive Director VADM Rene Villana Medina opposes the revival of MLC.
He mentioned that there is no reason to reinstate MLC and OLC and that it is already addressed in our educational system.
Furthermore, former MARINA Chief VADM Robert Empedrad said that there is no need to revive the Management Level Course (MLC) because it is already in the country’s maritime schools’ education curriculum.
Aside from IMO’s independent evaluators, our seafarers’ employment status is also in shambles with the EMSA Accreditation.
EMSA or the European Maritime Safety Agency enforces EU standards for foreign seafarers navigating in European waters.
In a senate hearing, Senator Tulfo grilled MARINA over its compliance issues.
It was also mentioned that President Marcos is well aware of the situation and ordered the agency to address the root cause.
The issue over EMSA accreditation dates back to 2006. Since then, only band-aid solutions have been introduced due to the accreditors (EMSA) granting leniency and extensions.
Everything is about to change today.
May the winds be in your favor.