The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having as sponsors the following organizations: Magsaysay People, Manila Shipmanagement & Manning, Inc. (“MANSHIP”), Manship Maritime Training Center, Inc. (MMTC), RINA Academy Philippines, RISK4SEA, SQEMARINE, SQE ACADEMY, and Standard Club and Trafalgar Navigation. Supporters of the event were F.A.M.E., Green Award, IWSA, AMOSUP-PTGWO-ITF, MARINA and Sailor’s Society, while participating companies included the American Club, Dohle Seafront Crewing (Manila) Inc., Health Metrics, the Marshall Islands Registry, OSM Maritime and Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc.

Discussions varied among key challenges affecting the industry, with a special focus on the hot issue of attracting new generations and diversified talents in the maritime industry which is struggling to cope with the reforms brought by accelerating technology and remain productive and efficient. In addition, the human element, amid a growing shift in automation and the continuing cyber threat, was high on the agenda. Moving forward, the presentations touched upon the vital theme of crew wellness, while the last panel provided interesting discussions on how the industry can attract millennials by millennials themselves.

Opening Keynotes

Opening the event, Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, welcomed the delegates and speakers, thanked sponsors, and gave the word to Vadm Narciso A Vingson Jr, Officer-in charge, MARINA, as well as Gerardo A. Borromeo, Vice-Chairman Chief Executive Officer, Transmarine Carriers, who made their special warm welcoming to the first SAFETY4SEA Manila Forum and provided a brief introduction of the current industry challenges.

Presentations and discussions formed as follows:

Panel # 1- Talent Attraction and Development

Opening the first panel, Mr. Patrick H. Maxwell, Vice President, MAGSAYSAY, noted that the shipping industry of today has to deal with major manpower shortages both at sea and ashore, as a result of the economic and demographic changes that have led to aging populations. In this regard, he shared key challenges shipping must address in order to attract new generations to select a career in shipping as a top choice: Connectivity, shore leave, criminalization and piracy are among the key challenges, he stressed.

In his presentation, Capt. Nicolo S. Terrei, Managing Director, Rina Academy Philippines, shared his experience from the investment in IoT technology for providing a quality maritime training, to continuously assess seafarers, shore-based personnel and staff, and subsequently enhance shipping safety.

Leo M. Bolivar, Country Manager, International Registries (Far East) Limited, noted that global demand for competent seafarers has been constantly growing over the years with shortage expected to peak in the next five years. He then described how the Marshall Islands Registry together with other industry stakeholders is proactively developing future seafarers through its work at the IMO, as well as human resources programs on education, training, and experience to produce quality crew for safer ships.

On his turn, Vadm Eduardo Ma R. Santos, President, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific, provided insight into efficient ways to attract the younger generation in the industry and key challenges that we need to address for the development of competent graduates who shall possess the character, knowledge, and skills necessary for the successful pursuit of a maritime career.

Panel # 2 - Human Element Challenges

Capt. Albert E. Bartilad, Vice President and COO of Manila Shipmanagement & Manning, Inc./ Vice President and CTO of Manship Maritime Training Center, Inc. highlighted the importance of safer, smarter seafaring through soft skills training, further stating that competence may be necessary, yet does not always guarantee performance. In fact, performance may be affected by a variety of personal or environmental factors, he noted.

During her presentation onloss prevention, risk and security management, Iris Baguilat, President, Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila), Inc. presented truths about life onboard, underlying that even in this high-tech age, the lives of seafarers are characterized by isolation, tedium, and confinement apart from having to execute essentially challenging work.

Mailyn Borillo, President, OSM, discussed the human element, sharing best practices beyond compliance, further underlining that life skills improve seafarer’s wellbeing, yet are the most neglected part of employees’ development. The main challenges of seafarers are challenges on family relationships; mental and physical sickness and further financial burdens, she stressed.

John Wilson, Technical Director for Asia, The American Club talked about the human element in cyber security, highlighting the rise of cyber incidents as a business risk and the importance of cyber incidents as a business risk. In order to reduce the risk to reduce the human error, he proposed that a cyber wellness culture should be established within the company.

Panel # 3 – Crew Wellness & Resilience

During his presentation, Gavin Lim, Regional Development Manager, Sailors' Society talked about wellness at sea training and surveys, highlighting that companies should adopt new ways to engage in promoting on board health and well-being, since the current definition of wellness looks at the human being’s holistic nature.

Antonio Roberto M. Abaya MD, Medical Director, Health Metrics gave his insight concerning the use of machine learning in maritime medicine, as repatriation risk assessment and proposed effective ways in which the use of machine learning in maritime medicine can act as a means to avoid risk.

At his presentation, Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, talked about crew wellness, soft skills and resilience. Lately, focus has been shed on finding ways to address the five key aspects of wellness for people working onboard in terms of social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual and refered to industry’s initiatives.

Panel # 4 – The Millennials Generation in the spotlight

The last panel was devoted to a very specific category of young people: Millennials are expected to bring a whole new set of demands and expectations on the modern shipping workplace. In a bid to provide a different perspective of the current skills challenges amid the industry, the panel gave the word to millennials themselves: Elaiza Marie Galvez Perez, Junior Training Development Officer, Manship Maritime Training Center, Inc., Jim Acanto Alminar, 2nd Engineer, Manila Shipmanagement & Manning, Inc. Shaina Moriones and Norman Cris Ayat, students from MOL MAGSAYSAY Maritime Academy, as well as Jonathan Hernandez, Chief mate, Ocean Going Ships, and Michelle Francisco, Second Mate, Ocean Going Ships, discussed how the industry can become more attractive to new generations, taking advantage of millennials’ unique experiences to reshape its traditional way of doing business.

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