Better protection for seafarers sought

Posted at 05/22/12 5:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is urging ship owners and governments, whose flag the vessels fly, to ensure a safe working environment for seafarers especially when the ships are passing through dangerous waters.

“The Philippine government ensures that Filipino seafarers are competent and fully qualified. The duty of the crew is to safely operate the ships which carry 80% of global trade. It is in turn the responsibility of shipping companies and Flag States to protect them from the scourge of piracy as they carry out this duty," said Philippine Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Ambassador Enrique Manalo during the 90th Session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee.

The Philippine government is still implementing the Best Management Practices (BMPs) as primary defense against pirate attacks.

The practices include the use of razor wires around the vessel to deter pirates from climbing on board, joining convoys travelling under the protection of naval escorts, and the use of citadels or a safe room where crew seek shelter as they await rescue by naval forces currently deployed in the waters off Somalia to protect civilian vessels.
Noting the successful protection of merchant vessels by privately contracted armed guards on board these vessels, the Philippines has participated in international efforts to regulate their deployment in order to weed out incompetent and ill-trained security personnel.

“While the adoption of BMPs is our preference, the use of armed guards complements its implementation thereby providing better protection to the crew," Manalo added.