The Maritime Training Council (MTC) has defended its role as a regulatory body saying it has no control over shortage of ship officers in the maritime manpower market.
"Every seafarer-supplying country endeavors to get a global demand. However, there are various factors to consider when the issue of shortage is brought to the fore," the MTC said.
The inter-agency body has brought the issue of supply and wages as the factors affecting the worsening manpower crisis in international shipping.
"It is our position that we have the supply but the matter of competence is another issue since competency requirements for seafarers have now become vessel specific," MTC director Ramon Tionloc said in a recent interview.
He said the "ideal set up is to have a pool of qualified and competent and certificated seafarers who can be hired on short notice to serve on any type of ship." He admitted, however, that preparation time and cost of training are factors that can hinder the development of this pool.
When it comes to its role in regulating the training centers, Tionloc said the present MTC regulations are more stringent since the publication of the IMO White List last December. The revised MTC regulations, which took effect in October 1998, have strictly adhered to the mandatory requirements under Regulations I/6, I/8 and I/2 of the STCW Convention as amended.
The promulgation of these training regulations is one of the qualifying factors for inclusion onto the IMO white list, according to Tionloc.
He believes that the present number of maritime training centers is enough to support the demand for trained officers. However, the MTC will keep its door open for new applications that would offer
training courses required under the convention but not provided by the existing maritime training centers.
The MTC also expects that with the on-going amendments to the mandatory instruments in the SOLAS Convention, there would somehow be new training requirements for seafarers that would be inputted to the convention in the coming years. And the entry of new training centers will be subject to this limitation.
The MTC says the number of seafarers undergoing upgrading and refresher courses through the various maritime training centers has remained constant.
But it says the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, where the MTC is attached, is aggressively pursing the market for our seafarers in coordination with the private sector through yearly missions to Europe and other major shipping capitals of the world.