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Magsaysay: The future of the Philippines as a shipping hub

Athens: Ahead of this year’s Posidonia shipping show, Marlon Rono, president of Philippine crewing giant, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, felt it was necessary to bring with him a clear message about the state of Philippine manning in the wake of the recent EU audit of the country’s training facilities. The audit had led to speculation that Filipinos might not be able to serve onboard EU-flagged ships if the inspectors found enough wrong with what they saw in the archipelago.

“Before coming to Greece I pressured the Philippines government to issue a statement,” Rono tells Maritime CEO. He got his way with the local Maritime Industry Authority releasing a statement on May 30 which states: “As a result of its latest assessment of the Philippine maritime education, training, and certification system, the European Commission has given the Philippine government additional time within which to demonstrate further concrete progress in the ongoing comprehensive reform of its STCW administration.”

The next review by the European Commission is now likely to take place in October.

For Rono and all those involved in Philippine manning the news is a relief. Magsaysay is the nation’s top crewing provider and continues to grow, as well as expanding and upgrading its training facilities. Rono is in Greece, an increasingly important country for his firm. Magsaysay opened an office in Piraeus last year and Greece is now the second most important client base for the company after Japan.

Rono has plenty of advice on crew retention – a problem many owners face. “It’s important to look after the family as well as offer long term career paths,” he says.

For Filipinos this latter part is increasingly possible as the nation becomes a more and more popular back office destination for both owners and managers.

“The Philippines is more and more of a service orientated economy,” Rono observes, and this is true for shipping too. There are now some 35 shipmanagers with bases in the Philippines.

“More and more owners are moving to the Philippines too,” he says, “as Singapore and Hong Kong have become too expensive.” Shipowners shift much of their back office work to Manila while keeping a commercial presence in Singapore or Hong Kong, he explains.

This growing shift has presented Filipino seafarers with plenty of options for work after their time at sea has come to an end.  [04/06/14]


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