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The Need to Transform


Half a century ago, the infamous Bachelor of Science degree in maritime education was institutionalized in the Philippines by passing into law the RA 3680, otherwise known as the PMMA Charter. It was only the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) then that offered BS in Marine Transportation (BSMT) with 2 majors:

  • Major in Navigation and Seamanship, and
  • Major in Steam Engineering and Marine Electricity in the Philippines. It was 1964! At the time, the STCW Convention was non-existent.

Also, at the time, PMMA became the model of all other Maritime Higher Education Institutes (MHEI), at least in the Philippines. The 2 majors became separate and distinct as follows:

  • BS in Marine Transportation (BSMT); and
  • BS in Marine Engineering (BSMarE).

In 1978, a game changer in maritime education and training came, the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (1978 STCW Convention). All, as in all marine practitioners and professionals went on stampede to undergo training and re-training!

The STCW Convention was amended in 1995 (STCW 1995) and lately in 2010 (STCW 2010 Manila Amendments). It is apparent today from the findings of a series of audits by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), a body commissioned by the European Union (EU) that the Philippines did NOT after all comply fully with the 1978 STCW Convention as amended in 1995 and 2010.

Until today, practically all marine professionals will undergo training, re-training, updating and refreshers one way or the other inevitably. This is despite the fact that almost all Filipino marine professionals were graduates of a Bachelor of Science degree!

In other words, it is either the Philippines refused to comply fully or simply cannot!


  • The Philippines’ Maritime Education and Training is qualification based while industries all over the world, maritime in particular is competency based!
  • The STCW minimum requirement for approved education and training are provided with IMO Model Courses for guidance. The Philippines insists on Baccalaureate Degree Programs as the minimum!
  • The STCW treats education and training as one while the Philippines treats education as different and apart from training!
  • The Philippines is selective in adopting IMO Model Courses! IMO Model Courses for Regulations IV, V, and VI are implemented en toto as mandatory while the IMO Model Courses for Regulations II and III are treated as mere guidance!
  • Only in the Philippines where maritime professionals are required to pass Licensure Examination and Assessment before they are required to undergo mandatory training!
  • Board passers are credited and claimed by Review Centers and NOT by the Maritime Education and Training Institutes (METIs)!
  • The Philippines expects the world to recognize its certificates while it does NOT recognize certificates issued by other countries who are parties to the STCW (Reg I/10 – Recognition of Certificates).

STCWize the Philippines Maritime Education and Training (PhilMET)!


To resolve permanently the never-ending EU Challenges facing the Philippines’ compliance with STCW in giving such full and complete effect! This can be done with political will in about five (5) years!

Existing Phil MET Regime (Year 2016 onwards)

The unrealistically long educational journey (Min 6 years)

Philmet 6 yearsNote: The Maritime Professional shall have to undergo other mandatory training such as Basic, Security, and Specialized upon completion.

The proposed STCW education and training journey (Min 3 years)

Training Duration


  • The Maritime Professional shall have completed all mandatory training requirement as per STCW 2010 Manila Amendments upon graduation from Grade 11 and 12 (SMHS)!
  • The performance standards and guidelines must be patterned after the applicable STCW Table of Competences!
Important issues to be considered:
  • The STCW mandatory certifications:
    • Certificate of Competency (COC);
    • Certificate of Proficiency (COP); and
    • Certificate of Endorsement (COE)
  • License for whatever wisdom there is was NEVER a STCW requirement!