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Seven Questions About the 2017 European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Audit of the Philippines


  1. Did the Philippines pass the 2017 European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Audit?

No, we did not pass the 2017 EMSA Audit. Since 2006, the Philippines has yet to pass any EMSA audit with flying colors. It’s been over 10 years of negative findings.
What’s EMSA? Read: EMSA, What we do

  1. Why did the Philippines fail the 2017 EMSA audit?

The Philippines failed because EMSA has continued to find that the country is still not following the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended. This is unacceptable because we are a country that agreed to follow the STCW Convention along with other member states like the EU.
Don’t know what STCW is? Watch: STCWhat

  1. What did the Philippines do after knowing the negative findings of 2017 EMSA audit?

MARINA prepared a Voluntary Corrective Action Plan (VCAP) and this was sent to EMSA. EMSA in turn, submitted the VCAP to the European Commission (EC) together with their inspection report of the Philippines. 

  1. What will happen to the Philippines because of the continued failure of the EMSA audits and non-compliance to STCW? 

The worst case scenario is that Filipino seafarers will lose their jobs on EU vessels. Why would ship-owners and ship managers risk working with seafarers from a country that failed to meet the standards?  

For every audit the Philippines fails to pass, a negative image of the country is what we are showing the global maritime industry. 

  1. What did the European Commission say? Can the Philippines still improve itself?

On January 24, 2018, MARINA received the EC’s response via an assessment report.

According to a press release provided by MARINA, the EC identified areas to be improved in relation to the STCW Convention. These areas include (1) education and training institutions; (2) national provisions like circulars and memoranda; (3) activities of the Maritime Administration.

We have a chance to improve but the EC also gave deadlines towards making these improvements. The first deadline was last April 30, 2018 wherein MARINA submitted the needed measures which have been put into place or intended to be put in place in relation to the areas to be improved.

Other deadlines are:

October 31, 2018 – evidence of implementation of the measures taken
October 31, 2019- evidence that the supporting information technology systems have been developed

       6. Will it be difficult to make the improvements and meet the deadlines?

MARINA, according to their press release, is assuring stakeholders that the job can be done. A special task force has been working to meet the first deadline in April.

However, support from the rest of the industry’s stakeholders (i.e. Crewing Agencies, Seafarers, Training Centers etc.) is needed. 

  1. What can stakeholders do to make the improvements?

The first step is awareness and understanding. All stakeholders need to know what’s going on and what is at stake in order to be able to act.

Second, we need to accept the situation that there is something wrong. We cannot be “kampante” and assume the Philippines is too big to fail despite being a major force in maritime.  

Third, industry stakeholders need to offer proactive help instead of criticism. Our commitment to assist and support will make all the difference.


Anticipated Question for HCP:

What actions has HCP been doing given the current situation with audit? 

1. HCP closely coordinates with MARINA and has an open offer to help in whatever capacity it can. MARINA has also been given the opportunity to reach out to HCP seafarers to settle the record straight for various issues.
2. Information Campaigns have been mounted by HCP to help its seafarers understand the situation within the industry.
3. Lastly, HCP has always been committed to building careers and strengthening the nation. We strive to develop and work with seafarers who have a commitment to not only uphold standards, but to go beyond it and set an example for future generations of Filipino seafarers.



Hand, M. (2013, July 24). The Philippines, EMSA, STCW audits and what happens next?
        Retrieved April 02, 2018, from

Maritime Industry Authority. (2018, February 2). European Commission's Assessment of Maritime                      
         Education, Training and Certification System of the Republic of The Philippines [Press release]. Retrieved March 28, 2018, from Release (002).PNG?dl=0

Mes, J. (2018, February 15). The Philippines and the EMSA audit, ... a glass half full or half empty?                                 

Retrieved March 28, 2018, from full-empty-joost-mes

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