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Safer sea travel for 60,000 seafarers seen

At least 60,000 Filipino seafarers could soon look forward to safer sea travel after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) began inspecting domestic ships for compliance with the internationally recognized Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) of 2006.

Labor and Employment secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said they will begin the assessment of the first two local ships to ensure they pass MLC standards.

She said at least 17 Philippine domestic ships have applied for the issuance of certificate of compliance.

“This is the first time we will be inspecting domestic ships… Now, we are beginning to enforce its (MLC) provisions to provide our seafarers decent work,” Baldoz said.

“Hopefully this will minimize sea accidents,” she added.

Baldoz said the inspection will cover the 8,981 Philippine registered ships in domestic shipping except warships, naval auxiliaries, government ships, and fishing vessels.

DOLE and its partner organizations have earlier prioritized the two-phase evaluation of Philippine-registered ships (PRS), which travel in international waters.

“We are almost over with the overseas (ships). We are now focusing on domestic ships,” Baldoz said.

As of August 15, Baldoz said 140 PRS have presented the necessary MLC requirements and have been issued with the Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance (DMLC) by DOLE for the first part of the evaluation.

She said another 96 PRS have completed the assessment and received their Maritime Labor Certificate (MLC).

“With these developments, we are on track in the implementation of the MLC 2006, the vital instrument which affords protection to approximately 368,158 overseas Filipino seafarers,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz issued the update yesterday, a year after the ratification of the MLC 2006.

The MLC of 2006 requires the 61 International Labor Organization (ILO) member states, which include the  Philippines, to comply with the stipulated “comprehensive welfare and protection” for seafarers worldwide.