To all the men and women at sea, yours is truly a valuable and necessary profession without which the world would not function as it does today. To the nearly 400,000 Filipinos who make up nearly one third of the world’s mariners, you are an inspiration to your families and your country. You are a cornerstone to the Philippine economy, generating more than 5.5 billion dollars a year in overseas remittances.

The chosen theme for this year’s campaign is “Career at Sea”. The maritime industry continues to grow, and the demand for seafarers remains high. There is still a high demand for marine deck and engine officers. In focusing on seafaring as a career, we hope to attract more young people to consider a career as a seafarer. By illustrating the seafaring career as sustainable, desirable, realistic, and exciting, top candidates should consider a life at sea as they make educational and career choices. As we focus on maritime education, I feel it appropriate to highlight the challenges we face in developing the young talent who dream of becoming a part of the maritime industry. The reality is that less than 10% of students who complete their academic requirements at maritime academies and universities in the Philippines will have the opportunity to sail as a cadet and complete the sea service requirement for graduation. It is a shame that there is not more of a commitment from the industry to provide space for Filipino cadets on their ships. Principals who run active cadetship programs reap the rewards of the investment. We have shared in the successes of the cadetship and career development programs which some of our principals have established. Throughout the years, we have been committed to turning cadets into officers. Today, we have seen qualified Filipinos reach the highest ranks in both deck and engine departments in all sectors of the

industry. There could be thousands more if only more opportunities are made available to young Filipino cadets. The talent is here and only needs to be given the right conditions to develop and address the growing global need for marine officers. I would like to join the IMO and share my sincere respect and appreciation for all the brave seafarers from around the world, and especially for my fellow countrymen from the Philippines. I wish you all smooth sailing and safe voyages until the four winds blow you safely home.

As we reach the midpoint of the year, and the summer months are upon our friends in the Northern hemisphere, the first rains of the typhoon season have fallen in the Philippines. As we have suffered more than our fair share of calamity in recent years, I do pray that this season offers a respite in order to allow our recovering communities to continue rebuilding and move forward.

Miguel Rocha

 

To read the full version of the Sharp News June Issue, click here