top of page

EU concludes: Filipino seafarers' certificates will continue to be recognized

After over a year that the fate of Filipino seafarers have hung in the balance, the European Union (EU) has finally concluded that it will continue to recognize the certificates of the Philippines' world-class sailors, citing the country's efforts to improve the system for their training.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron announced the "long-awaited" decision for the Philippines and lauded how it would affect Filipino seafarers and their families. In a statement, EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said they appreciated the constructive cooperation of Philippine authorities and welcome their efforts to improve the system for training and certifying seafarers. "The Philippines provide a significant and valued part of the European and global shipping industry's maritime workforce – indeed, with roughly 50 000 Filipino masters and officers currently working on EU-flagged ships," she said. "The Philippines can count on our technical support to further improve the implementation and oversight of minimum education, training, and certification requirements, as well as living and working conditions.," she added.

In the coming months, the Commission intends to provide the Philippines with technical assistance to further improve its education, training, and certification system for seafarers. This was discussed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN summit last December.

In December 2021, following a detailed assessment of the training and certification system in place, the Commission informed the Philippines that recognition of their seafarer certificates would be withdrawn unless serious measures were taken, including compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Since then, the Philippines has made serious efforts to comply with the requirements, particularly in key areas like monitoring, supervision, and the evaluation of training and assessment. At least 50,000 Filipino seafarers working in European vessels were put at risk after the European Maritime Safety Agency found that the Philippines had not complied with international maritime safety standards.

In December last year, President Marcos said the government would do "everything" to address local seafarer training and education deficiencies. "I think that we will [be] going to do everything that we can. We cannot leave it hanging like this," he said. "This is our last chance, so we have to really get it done. But again, the whole industry is working to make it happen," he added.

As the Philippines waited for the EU's decision, Japanese shipping companies assured Marcos that they would continue hiring Filipino seafarers to man their vessels.



bottom of page