The Business Times

Silver lining in EU threat to ban Filipino seafarers

Standard of training and certification in the Philippines is being raised, which is in everyone's interest

Published Mon, Sep 15, 2014 · 04:09 AM
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FOR many years, men and women from the Philippines have left their homes to work on the world's merchant fleet. Over the past three or four decades, as open registers have largely replaced nationally manned fleets, the number of Filipinos at sea has gone up, to the extent that they now account for about a quarter of all seafarers on the internationally trading fleet.

They rarely get in the news, but last November's Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, made for one of the few times the wider world outside shipping became aware of the number of Filipinos at sea.

Encouragingly, many from outside shipping helped the maritime charities in their response. But by and large, the Filipino seafarers have quietly gone about the business of keeping international trade moving. The deal has always been simple: They get paid far more at sea than they can earn on terra firma back home, but they still make far less than seafarers from industrialised countries.

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