Filipino seafarers have to deal with stress beginning from shore, months prior to their shipboard deployment when training, assessments and examinations consume a chunk of their shore leave.

Specifically, Capt. Antonio Ladera, Crewing Management Partner of Pacific Ocean Manning Inc. (POMI)-VShips quoted to the Manila Times that seafarers in the country experience many challenges that pressures their mental health wellbeing, as they have to deal with the lack of shore leave, increased paperwork, working with fewer people, isolation and homesickness.

Yet, despite the difficulties above, Filipino seafarers have a hard time onshore dealing with training, assessments and examinations prior to their onboard deployment.

He added that master mariners need 20 to 30 trainings for them to become fully compliant to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention.

In the meantime, the merchant marine career is also the only profession in the country where an individual would have to take multiple Board Licensure Examinations to be promoted to the highest position.

The Captain expressed his concern over the fact that seafarers take their training tests during their “vacation”, when not onboard, during a time they’re supposed to spend with their families and friends.

This is one of the most pressing issues of the industry. There’s way too much training for a crew to absorb in a short period of time

… Captain Ladera added.

Although familiriazation and refresher training are crucial, as they improve the seafarers’ skills and knowledge, the Captain raises the question whether all these are for improvement or “just a compliance thing?”

He also discussed about the issue of “oversupply of seafarers”, commenting that many countries have more seafarers for the same number of vessels that existed from the past.

Only a quarter of our annual graduates from more than 100 maritime schools are given the opportunity to work onboard ships, the rest end up being underemployed

… Captain Ladera concluded.

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