Global organisations representing seafarers, shipowners and other maritime employers signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines’s Department of Migrant Workers on 11 January, to form the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA).
he IACGMA is composed of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
Key aims of the IACGMA include contributing to the provision of appropriate training to the country’s seafarers in compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention.
The IACGMA will also work to address concerns regarding ambulance chasing and unfair labour practices, and on issues related to the employability of Filipino seafarers overseas; all key areas of discussion during the group’s December meeting.
The formation of the IACGMA follows a meeting that took place on 13 December 2022 where shipping industry leaders met with President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, as part of his foreign policy tour in Brussels.
During the meeting, President Marcos recommended the establishment of a new advisory board to be made up of employers, shipowners and unions and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to give expert advice on major maritime issues affecting Filipino seafarers.
The Philippine government through its Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) welcomes the participation of well-respected industry associations and leaders from the global shipping industry in developing our roadmap to a just transition as well as boosting the global competitiveness of Filipino seafarers across the globe
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said during the signing ceremony of DMW with its international partners.
The Secretary assured the IACGMA’s international partners that other relevant government agencies in the Philippines such as the Department of Transportation and its attached agency, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) have expressed support to the goals and vision of the newly-formed advisory body.
It is excellent that the IACGMA has been formed so swiftly following the industry’s meeting with President Marcos in December 2022. It signifies the strength of commitment from industry and the Philippines to ensuring safety and protection for Filipino seafarers, who make up a huge 14% of the global seafarer workforce
International Chamber of Shipping Secretary General Guy Platten, added.
Moreover, International Maritime Employers’ Council Chairman, Capt. Belal Ahmed, noted that “the formation of IACGMA is a massive milestone in the public-private discourse and we are confident this will lead to a new golden era for the Philippines in the maritime industry. We are delighted that President Marcos seized the industry’s offer to assist with the current challenges and has committed his government’s resources to addressing our concerns.”
During December 2022, organisations representing seafarers, shipowners and other maritime employers, met with the Philippines’ President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, as part of his foreign policy tour in Brussels.
At the time, reform was urged of the country’s seafarer claims industry where ambulance-chasing lawyers target seafarers in order to defraud employers.
More specifically, during the meeting, the top of the agenda was the immediate concern of employers and crew that as many as 50,000 seafarers faced being barred from crewing European Union-flagged vessels over qualification issues.