MANILA — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is looking at the possibility of implementing a so-called comprehensive practical assessment to determine the competence of the country’s seafarers.
This came in wake of reports that the maritime agency is planning to abolish the licensure examination which are too long and time consuming.
“If we turn to the STCW, there are a lot of methods on how to assess the competence of a seafarer. It’s not only through written or computerized examination, or practical assessment or simulators, there are a lot of options such as ‘in-service assessment’ and training. So MARINA will open up the whole range of assessments so that our seafarers will not be bound to only two or three modes of assessment,” said MARINA administrator Maximo Mejia Jr. in Filipino.
He added that they are planning to ask seafarers, once they assumed the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) licensing handling out function, on what they need most, their licenses or certificate of competency (COC), in a bid to reduce red tape.
“That’s what I want to ask our seafarers, if you are trying to get hired by a company, what do they look for? Your COC? Or your license? Of course, it would be your COC. The STCW doesn’t have a license, only a certificate of competency. So in the interest of reducing red tape, whether there will be two documents, license and COC, we are working to improve the process. If we can just merge it together, why shouldn’t we? So that our seafarers don’t have to come back and forth. The goal of MARINA is to be fully compliant to the STCW,” Mejia stressed.
The MARINA administrator also pointed that to improve the certification system, seafarers only need their COC and not the licenses.
“But when it comes to the scenario that they want the license, they can just get it together, there isn’t a need to separate the process,” Mejia pointed out.
The MARINA administrator added that steps are now being prepared by the agency on how to expedite the release of the COCs once they assumed this function from the PRC.