Seafarers needed by maritime industry
by Danny O. Sagun
Dagupan City (19 August) -- SOME 300,000 seafarers are needed for the next four years to meet the ever-growing maritime industry, according to officers of known shipping companies in the country.
Eduardo Manese of the Magsaysay Shipping Lines last Tuesday met with high school principals and guidance counselors from Region 1 to solicit their help in guiding their students choose a lucrative career in the maritime industry.
Other top executives in the marine sector joined Manese at the "Handog sa Kabataan Career Caravan for the Maritime Sector for Region 1" orientation at the Pangasinan Merchant Marine Academy (PAMMA), jointly sponsored by the regional office of the labor department.
The orientation dwelt on the status of seafaring maritime industry and the benefits of the maritime career.
Manese, a native of Lingayen, urged the participants to help shape the minds of the youths which career to take up, and not just consider the so-called popular courses.
He said the industry needs the best people to man ships that are worth $20 to $30 million not counting yet the amount of cargo and the lives of the passengers. He noted that people look down on seafaring as a profession. "Pag hindi matalino ang anak, palaging sinasabi ng magulang, 'Magmarino ka na lang.'"
It turns out however that seafaring is among the top eight occupations in the world. He said there are some 355,000 now deployed as seafarers all over the world, most of whom, he noted, own beautiful houses and other properties because of good pay ranging from $300 for a mere cadet and from $7,000 to $20,000 for ranking officers.
At least 10 years have to pass to produce a good captain while it is just one year to produce a ship, he said stressing the manpower crisis in the industry because of tremendous demands.
The shipping executives said that the number one choice in the industry are Filipinos,
Captain Teodoro Quijano said that the country is the top manpower supplier. "Yong kasunod malayong masyado," he noted as he bared the crisis in the global shipping sector because of shortage of officers as a result of huge demand caused by the economic boom in China.
Some 2,000 vessels were slated for construction from 2006 to 2012 needing 300,000 men.
Quijano asked the school heads to be as motivated for their top students to consider a maritime career. "Pero piliin ninyo, di naman lahat pag-aralin sa maritime schols," he stressed noting the huge responsibility of a seafarer. "$200 million yong halaga ng isang barko, di puedeng ipagkatiwala sa sinuman lang yan."
A jobs fair was scheduled on September 5 in said maritime school to recruit personnel and at the same time conduct briefings with selected fourth year high school students. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]