It was a rare and fortunate opportunity for FAME and POEA staff to come together and discuss the concerns of the shipping/manning industry. This was made possible during the Joint FAME-POEA Shipping Business Seminar on the 8th & 9th of May 2012 at the PST Hall, Blas F. Ople Bldg., EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City. The seminar was designed for POEA employees and personnel in order for them to have a better understanding of the maritime industry, increase their knowledge and awareness of the industry’s concerns, and thereby facilitate greater coordination in industry dealings and transactions.

It was a 2-day seminar scheduled from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Mr. Jose Albar G. Kato, President of FAME, and Director Nini Lanto of POEA graced the opening remarks.

Capt. Eliseo Z. Clemente, General Manager of NYK-FIL Training, Inc., was first to present with the topic on “The Maritime Industry: History and General Background”. It was a sort of a time trip in the maritime history and an introduction to the marine industry. In his report he cited the importance of world shipping and sea-borne trade and mentioned the contributions of the Filipino seafarers in the maritime advancement. The 4 (basic essentials) International Maritime Conventions were also mentioned in the presentation.

Capt. Clemente also talked about the topic “What is ship/vessel all about?” Under these topics were the type of commercial ships and cargo ships, classifications of ships, type of ship’s service, the typical shipboard organization, duties of each department, and the typical equipments carried on board and their functions.

After that overview on maritime background, Atty. Josephine G. Uranza, Corporate Secretary of Magsaysay Maritime, reported on the topic “Ship Manning: What is Manning and Seafarer?” in which she defined the relationship between seafarer and manning. The speaker also identified the key players of the maritime industry and their roles and responsibilities and the relationship between the manning agreement and the crew agreement in relation to the POEA Standard Employment Contract. She also mentioned here a similar topic on the types of ships which a seafarer can be deployed, its departments and the duties of each department.

A related topic was discussed by Mr. Reuben C. Romero, Managing Director of Southfield Agencies, Inc., in which he identified such roles in “Relationship between Shipowners, Charter, Shipmanager, Manning Agent and Operator”.

One of the most important matters of the seminar, given that it is directly referring to POEA concerns, was the report of Capt. Ronaldo SJ. Enrile, Vice-President for Operations of Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., who delivered a topic on “Standard Crewing Procedures of Manning Companies and the Importance of Proper Documentation and On-time Deployment of Crew”. Here he pointed out the requirements and steps for new principal/vessel enrolment, requirements and procedures for transfer to another manning agency, recruitment process, documentation & deployment process, the importance of proper documentation & on-time deployment, and the challenges of the manning agencies with regards to recruitments and applications.

Atty. Rodello Ortiz, Legal Manager of Stolt-Nielsen Philippines, Inc., then presented the “Maritime Organizations & Seafarers’ Unions”. Among the topics that were discussed are the international shipping industry, the global seafarers supply, the maritime industry players, the creation and objectives/importance of International Maritime Organization (IMO), shipowners’ organization, international seafarers unions and federations, Philippine maritime associations, manning associations, manning federations, seafarers’ unions, and tripartite. Examples of local and international organizations, unions & federations, and associations were also cited in the report.

The last speaker, Atty. Charles J. Dela Cruz, in behalf of Atty. Ruben Del Rosario, shared an equally significant topic on “Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P&I Clubs)”. The topic includeds the following matters: characteristics of the P&I Clubs, several P&I Clubs, liabilities of the shipowners, claims covered by the Club, and the role of correspondents in relation to the Club.

Participants were able to relay their questions to the speakers during the open forum. Among the concerns that were raised/clarified are the coverage of the P&I Clubs and the challenges of manning agencies particularly the processing of requirements & documentation and the issues on the permanent disability and repatriation.

Overall, the seminar was very informative. It was positive but it was also eye-opener. FAME is hopeful that POEA and the industry will have harmonious and lasting relationship in working together for a common goal and objective which is to help to connect and bridge related government agencies such as POEA to the Philippine Maritime Industry through FAME and to pave way for the POEA personnel and staff to know and better understand the industry in order for POEA to serve the industry better and vice versa.