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PH on Track In Implementing International Maritime Labor Standards
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PH on track in implementing international maritime labor standards under MLC 2006

Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said that the Philippines is on track in enhancing the welfare and protection of overseas Filipino seafarers in line with the highest international-standards embodied in the MLC 2006, as she recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with five recognized organizations (ROs) on the conduct of inspection and certification of Philippine-registered vessels engaged in international voyages.

Baldoz, who has issued Department Order No. 130, Series of 2013, on the Rules and Regulations on the Employment of Filipino Seafarers Onboard Philippine Registered Ships Engaged in International Voyage, said the Philippines is in step with the global enforcement of MLC, 2006 which shall take effect 20 August this year following the country’s ratification of the ILO treaty in 20 August 2012.

“We have set in place the policies and mechanisms for our compliance with the convention, and to make sure that these mechanisms are in place and that ships abide by these rules and regulations, we are authorizing recognized organizations affiliated with reputable international classification organizations to conduct inspection of ships and issue Maritime Labor Certificate under Department Order No. 130-A,” Baldoz said during the ceremonial signing of the MOA with ROs held in Intramuros, Manila.

The five recognized organizations that signed the MOA with Secretary Baldoz are represented by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Regional Manager, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai; Emmanuel Danion, Country Chief Executive, Bureau Veritas; Anacleto Macanas, Attorney-in-Fact, Korean Register of Shipping; Antonio Leosala, Country Manager, Det Norske Veritas; Jessie Suficiencia, Station Manager and Surveyor, Germanischer Lloyd; Representatives from Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP); Joint Manning Group (JMG); Philippine Association of Manning Agencies and Shipmanagers, Inc (PAMAS); International Maritime Association of the Philippines, (INTERMAP); Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc (FAME); Philippine-Japan Manning Council (PJMCC); Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA); Philippine Coast Guard; Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA); Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC); and DOLE-National Capital Region witnessed the signing ceremony.

The ROs are members of reputable international classification organizations presently performing classification of ships in international trade such as the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). They have the necessary expertise in the relevant aspects of the Convention and an appropriate knowledge of ship operations, including the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship, conditions of employment, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, accident prevention, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.  The ROs also have the appropriate size, structure, experience and capability commensurate with the type and degree of authorization.

Under the agreement, ROs shall start the inspection and certification of ships upon DOLE’s issuance of Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance (DMLC)-Part I, and upon the request of the shipowner, carry out initial, intermediate, and renewal inspections, as the case may be on the following matters; minimum age; medical certification; qualifications of seafarers; use of any licensed, certified, or regulated private recruitment and placement service; hours of works or rest; manning levels for the ship; accommodation; on-board recreational facilities; food and catering; health and safety and accident prevention; on-board medical care; on-board complaint procedures; and payment of wages.

The conduct of inspection shall also be done through onshore documents review and onboard inspection/verification of DMLC-Part II as against Part I and onboard interview. Once inspected and verified, they shall certify DMLC Part II.

They shall direct the shipowner to correct noted deficiencies and non-conformities. They are also responsible to immediately report to the DOLE complaints encountered during inspections and to conduct validation or investigation, and conduct follow-up inspection and verification of corrective actions completed pursuant to the agreed schedule of corrections, when necessary.

If everything is found in order, they shall issue to the shipowner an Interim Maritime Labor Certificate, valid for not more than six months for new ships on delivery or when ship changes flag or when a shipowner assumes responsibility for the operation of the ship; or Full Term Maritime Labor Certificate, valid for not more than five years.

However, they can also recommend to the DOLE the withdrawal of the MLC and endorse or withdraw the MLC after the conduct of immediate inspection, when necessary.  Representatives from the ROs conveyed their elation to be a part of this development and committed to meet DOLE’s expectations.

In a statement, AMOSUP expressed its support and gladly welcomes the signing of the agreement. JMG Past Chairman Eduardo Manese called the event “a momentous occasion everyone in the sector is waiting for”.

“This partnership between the DOLE and the ROs primary aims to uplift the working conditions of all seafarers. This is just one of the strategies that we will do in order to ensure that the provisions of the law will be complied to,” Baldoz said.