MARITIME | IMO boss: Filipino seafarers are ‘unsung heroes’

IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos has recognised the major contribution of Filipino seafarers to international shipping. “They are the unsung heroes we should pay tribute to wherever they may be,” Mitropoulos told yesterday’s opening ceremony of the International Conventions on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) diplomatic conference in Manila.

It is the first time the diplomatic conference has been held away from IMO’s London headquarters.

The conference will cover the ‘human element’ in crewing as there have also been growing cases of violations of seafarers’ human rights, Mitropoulos said.

Other measures due for adoption are changes to chapters of the STCW Convention, additional requirements on hours of work and rest, prevention of drug and alcohol abuse and the prevention of fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency.

Amendments will also incorporate new requirements related to training, environmental awareness, security and piracy concerns.

Mitropoulos said piracy remains the biggest threat, and IMO was dedicating significant resources and effort to find real solutions to the growing menace in which Filipino crewmen were among the victims of pirate attacks. Currently, 65 Filipino seafarers are being held hostage in Somalia.

Source: SAFETY AT SEA INTERNATIONAL

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