Japan shipowners assure Marcos: We’ll continue to hire PH seafarers
TOKYO, Japan — An association of shipowners in Japan has assured President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that shipping companies will continue to hire Filipino seafarers, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said.
PCO said in a statement on Thursday that Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA) president and Mitsui OSK Lines chairperson Ikeda Junichiro made the remark during a meeting on Thursday here.
According to Ikeda, Filipino seafarers play a big role in Japan’s shipping industry, which is why they want a continuous and steady supply of skilled workers.
“The Filipino seafarers play a big role. So having all said, Filipino seafarers are essential to Japanese shipping industry,” he said.
“And so we sincerely and strongly hope that there will continue to be a steady supply of professional and well-trained Filipino seafarers to work alongside us,” he added.
Similarly, Ikeda expressed hopes that the quality standards in terms of training Filipino seafarers would continue to improve.
“We also expect that quality standard of the Filipino seafarers to continue to improve, as the Philippine government continues to work hard to achieve this,” Ikeda noted.
Marcos in reply then assured the shipping companies that the Philippine government would continue to work with them to ensure a ready supply of highly-skilled seafarers.
According to PCO, about 75 percent of Japan’s ocean-going vessels are comprised of Filipino seafarers while an average of 6,600 Filipino seafarers are deployed annually to vessels under the Japanese Flag of Registry.
“The JSA has the assurance of the Philippine government that we will continue to work together as a team, as partners, in ensuring that your requirements for more seafarers shall be met because, clearly, you care for them very much and they are in good hands while under your employment,” Marcos said.
“We welcome and look forward to these training investments from the JSA,” he added.
The PCO said Marcos also recognized the Japanese shipowners’ efforts to help in properly training Filipino seafarers through schools located in Canlubang, Laguna, and Bataan — each of which produces around 1,200 qualified cadets per year.
Ikeda in turn thanked the Philippine government for supporting the operation of the Japan-backed maritime training schools and facilities in the country. Marcos on the other hand said having Filipinos hired by Japanese shipowners translates to sustaining the country’s manpower resource pipeline.
Marcos also said they hope other international shipping associations would follow suit.
It could be remembered that the Philippines has encountered concerns regarding deploying seafarers, particularly over countries under the European Union, after the Philippines failed to pass the European Maritime Safety Agency (Emsa) evaluation in the last 16 years.
If the country continues to fail the Emsa evaluation, there is a possibility that over 50,000 seafarers in EU countries may lose their jobs — with future deployments banned too.
Marcos is in Japan for a five-day official visit, running from February 8 to 12. He is expected to have business meetings through the days, including earlier discussions with semiconductor companies in Japan and the said country’s tourism stakeholders.
In the meeting with Japan’s companies in the semiconductor and electronic industries, Marcos was said to have received investment pledges which is seen to open 10,000 more jobs for Filipinos.