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Pinoy Abroad

Japanese shipowners assure Marcos of continuous hiring of Pinoy seafarers

TOKYO — Japanese shipping companies have assured the Philippine government of continuous hiring of Filipino seafarers to man their vessels.

“The Filipino seafarers play a big role. So having all said, Filipino seafarers are essential to Japanese shipping industry. And so we sincerely and strongly hope that there will continue to be a steady supply of professional and well-trained Filipino seafarers to work alongside us,” Junichiro Ikeda, president of the Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA) and chairman of the Mitsui OSK Lines, told President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a shipowners’ meeting on Thursday.

“We also expect that quality standard of the Filipino seafarers to continue to improve, as the Philippine government continues to work hard to achieve this,” Ikeda said.

The JSA sought the President’s help and assurance for the steady supply of Filipino seafarers.

For his part, Marcos told Japanese shipping companies that his administration will continue to work closely with them to ensure a ready pool of highly-skilled Filipino seafarers required by Japanese maritime companies.

“The JSA has the assurance of the Philippine government that we will continue to work together as a team, as partners, in ensuring that your requirements for more seafarers shall be met because, clearly, you care for them very much and they are in good hands while under your employment,” the President said.

Marcos expressed appreciation for the investments being made by Japanese shipowners in maritime training schools located in Canlubang, Laguna and Bataan, recording 1,200 cadets per school per year.

“We welcome and look forward to these training investments from the JSA,” Marcos said.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Marcos said, has recently created an International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs, which shows how important Filipino seafarers are to both the domestic and international labor markets.

DMW Secretary Susan Ople will also be establishing a Japan Desk at the Office of the Secretary to ensure faster communication and coordination between Japanese shipowners and land-based employers with the administration, the President said.

At the same time, he said the DMW, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) have been receiving direct guidance from the Office of the President on how to boost the competitiveness of Filipino seafarers and improve their maritime education and skills training.

Ikeda thanked the Philippine government for supporting the “very successful” operation of Japan-backed maritime training schools and facilities in the country.

Japanese shipping companies, Ikeda said, employ large numbers of Filipino seafarers, which the JSA president described as “very much high-quality seafarers.”

About 75% of the crew of Japanese ocean-going vessels is comprised of Filipino seafarers and an average of 6,600 Filipino seafarers per year are deployed to vessels with the Japanese Flag of Registry in the past 10 years. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News