Yesterday I was asked if any ship owners are establishing a plan B in case the Philippines fail to meet the EMSA requirements with the upcoming assessment. Without much thought I was able to answer the question with a resounding “no”.
At no time in the past 16 years has a ship owner expressed to me his serious concern for Philippine compliance. Not once has a ship owner complained about the quality standard of the education system, training options, or the quality of the crew from the Philippines.

Not once has a ship owner I work with opted for another nationality of crew over Filipinos because of poor performance or overall quality.

I have principals who have decided to remove all Filipino crew from their ships at once and replaced them with other nationality crew. I have some that are in the process of doing so, one ship at a time. I have some principals who are threatening to begin the process themselves. They are not making these moves because they are dissatisfied with the quality. They are making these decisions for one reason only, corruption in the legal claims process. The hidden costs of employing Filipinos are eliminating our number one market advantage, the low cost of a high quality labor force.

The reason the Philippine manning industry grew to be the world leader was hinged on the offering of low cost of labor combined with a strong proficiency of English. As other nations are catching up in English proficiency, while offering cost effective wage scales, the Philippines continues to gauge employers, adding millions of US dollars to crew costs.

Believe it or not, those who have left are still clamouring to return, but not until they see a significant action on the part of the government to level the playing field for fair and just hearing of legal claims. Until such a time, I fear our industry will continue to decline into the sunset of Philippine manning.

As a representative of more than 35 international ship owners, I am often called upon to answer questions regarding their attitudes and opinions on the Philippine labor market. On one such occasion, the question was asked if any ship owners are establishing a plan B in case the Philippines fail to meet the EMSA requirements with the upcoming assessment. Without much thought I was able to answer the question with a resounding “no”.

At no time in the past decade has a ship owner expressed to me a serious concern for Philippine compliance. Not once has a ship owner complained about the quality standard of the education system, training options, or the quality of the crew from the Philippines sufficient to change their hiring practices. Not once has a ship owner under my management opted for another nationality of crew over Filipinos because of poor performance or overall quality.

I work with principals who have decided to remove all Filipino crew from their ships at once and replaced them with other nationality crew. I have some that are in the process of doing so, one ship at a time, and others who are threatening to begin the process themselves. They are not making these moves because they are dissatisfied with the quality. They are making these decisions for one reason only, corruption in the legal claims process. The hidden costs of employing Filipinos are eliminating our number one market advantage, the low cost of a high quality labor force.

The reason the Philippine manning industry grew to be the world leader was hinged on the offering of low cost of labor combined with a strong proficiency in English. As other nations are breaking the language barrier, while offering cost effective wage scales, the Philippines continues to gauge employers, adding millions of US dollars to crew costs.
Believe it or not, those who have left are still clamouring to return, but not until they see a significant action on the part of the government to level the playing field for the fair and just hearing of legal claims. Until such a time, I fear our industry will continue to decline and bring the sunset of the Philippine manning industry.

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