The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) maintains a “White List” which is a list of member states (countries) who have confirmed to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to be following the relevant provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW)..
A position on the White List means that certificates issued by or on behalf of the countries on the list are in compliance with the STCW and means that the defined minimum competency requirements for all seafarers have been met by the countries on the list..
As per MSC.1/CIRC.1163/REV.11, 129 countries are part of the White List..
But 75 countries are at risk of facing the chop from this White List for alleged non-compliance, if the recommendations by the organisation’s Sub-committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW).. Only below 54 countries are recommended to be on the White List..
The list of countries that are NOT in the revised list include big names in seafaring business like Philippines..
Philippines is the largest supplier of seafarers in the world and their exclusion could create chaos in the seafaring market as it would deprive more than 375,000 Filipinos of their livelihood..
Countries like South Africa are also in the list of countries that face possible exclusion and naturally The Society of Master Mariners of South Africa is worried about this and issued a statement “This document certainly shows the urgent need for SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) to sort this out as a priority.”
Maritime Review Africa is reporting that the fact that South Africa is included amongst the culled countries has not gone unnoticed by stakeholders in the local maritime industry who are concerned about the impact that this may have on South African seafarers as well as training providers..
As per the report, Acting CEO of SAMSA, Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA intends to address this as a matter of urgency – indicating that they do acknowledge the impending removal of South Africa from the list as a crisis that needs to be avoided..
In a video message, Mr.Tilayi has issued a statement in this regard as below..
Philippines on the other hand is reportedly insisting that they are still on the White list and has cautioned the public against efforts to generate undue panic to the country’s over 400,000 seafarers and their families..
The Philippines was included in the White List for the third time when it was last released in 2011, but the revised list in the IMO document did not include the Philippines..
Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is in charge of ensuring the competencies of Filipino seafarers in Philippines..
Manila Times is reporting that following these reports by IMO, Former Marina Administrator Vicente Suazo has conceded that the IMO document could have severe repercussions..
“Yes, the implication will be very damaging. Marina should move heaven and earth to find a way, starting [this] week, to get in touch with IMO soonest, with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs and make arrangement to come up with solutions.”
We will be watching this with interest..