Friday, June 21, 2013

Germans assure Binay on Seamen

Shipping Titans Assure Binay Of Support For Filipino Seafarers, EU Safety Audit
By Charissa M. Luci
Published: June 9, 2013
BERLIN, Germany — Some 50 German shipping titans have assured Vice President Jejomar C. Binay that they would keep their Filipino crew members as well as support the Philippine government’s efforts to pass the next European Union (EU) maritime safety audit in October.
The assurance was made at a meeting between aBinay and German maritime business executives and shipowners in the seaport capital city of Hamburg.
“Their support for us is overwhelmingly strong. They have expressed their all-out support,” Binay, Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Worker Concern, told the Manila Bulletin shortly after the launching of the “Smart City: The Next Generation” exhibit Friday night in Aedes am Pfefferberg Studio in this European capital city.
He said the supposed roundtable meeting turned into a big pro-Filipino seafarers’ forum following the all-out participation of a significant number of interesting shipowners and shipping executives.
Keynoting the “The Filipino Seafarer” Maritime Roundtable Conference last Wednesday, the Vice President sought the “able and gracious” assistance of the German business shipping executives to support the Philippines’ bid to get the nod of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) which keeps an eye on the audit and review of the country’s maritime administration.
Edgardo G. Lacson, director of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. who is part of Binay’s delegation, said the German shipowners took note of the Vice President’s sojourn to Germany as an expression of Philippine government’s commitment to address the maritime audit issue.
“They are willing to help. Kasi, symbiotic naman ang relationship. They need us, our seafarers. They have the hardware, we have the software,” he said.
He said the German government’s stature in the EU bloc could spell a difference in the Philippines’ posture before the eyes of EMSA.
“Germany is powerful in the EU. Nakita naman nila ang sincerity ng Philippine government. That is why the Vice President is here in Germany,” Lacson said.
As the world’s third largest trading nation, Germany is in control of more than 40 percent of all container shipping. There are more or less 400 German shipping companies.
Binay assured the maritime business officials that the Philippine government is taking “very seriously” the findings of EMSA during its maritime audit conducted from April 15 to 19.
There are at least 360,000 Filipino seafarers sailing the seven seas, which is 25 percent of the entire global maritime workforce and 80,000 of them ply the seas on board E.U.-flagged ocean-going commercial vessels.
The German Shipowners’ Association (Verband Deutscher Reeder) has warned that tens of thousands Filipino seafarers risk losing their jobs in European Union (EU)-registered ships if the Philippine government fails to pass the EU maritime audit in October.
In a letter, the International Chamber of Shipping, the world’s principal shipping organization, representing 80 percent of the world’s merchant tonnage also called the attention of President Benigno S. Aquino III to address the EU’s concern over the country’s maritime industry’s failure to pass the audit last April.

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