The First Conference on Safe Seafaring convened on April 20, 2016, on the theme, “Toward Higher Quality Maritime Education and Training: Learning Innovations for Safe Seafaring.” Organized by the Library for Safe Seafaring (L4SS) and its mother maritime school, Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation in Canaman, Camarines Sur the conference was held at the Lagoon, Hotel H2O, Ocean Park, Manila.
The L4SS is partnered with the Elsevier Foundation (The Netherlands and USA) while the conference was in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI), Philippine Association of Maritime Training Centers (PAMTCI), as well as with the international Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and Nautical Institute (NI).
Close to 200 maritime educators, trainers, cadets, government officials, media practitioners, and other maritime stakeholders participated from the Philippines, with foreign delegates and speakers from Singapore, Japan, India, and Papua New Guinea.
Live streaming, teleconferencing with MPCF-Canaman and Legazpi, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific in Bataan and Dava Merchant Marine Academy (DMMA) of Southern Philippines in Davao was made possible by the UP Information Technology Development Center (UP-ITDC) in cooperation with Smart Communications which provided free internet connectivity to the whole day event.
Conference Chair Ms. Evita L. Jimenez, L4SS Project Manager and MPCF Board chair, said the conference was inspired by the Elsevier Foundation-supported library project, aiming for a common understanding to achieve higher standards of quality maritime education and training (MET).
Ms. Jimenez said that L4SS and its new website, Safe Seafaring, is all about “sharing resources, knowledge and everything about what we have to share with the rest of the seafaring world. This is about building technology-aided global library for helping raise scientific learning and competencies among maritime students, teaching for seafarers.”
MPCF-Legazpi CEO president and PAMI secretary general, Commo. Dante La. Jimenez welcomed the conference delegates. UP Prof. Maria Cynthia Rose B. Bautista in her capacity as commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), was the keynote speaker. Conference co-chair and Mariners EVP Merle J. San Pedro introduced the keynote speaker while CEO MPCF Camarines Sur, Dr. Marilisa Ampuan, gave the closing remarks.
CHEd Commissioner Bautista talked about a paradigm shift from education to learning and life-long learning: “The profoundness of this shift lies in its focus on individual learners away from teachers teaching classes to individual learners to help them adopt to the evolving requirements of the labor market and better master the changing timeframes.”
Before the conference sessions, salutary messages were delivered by Felix M. Oca, PAMI president; PAMTCI president Capt. Arsenio Padilla; Ms. Carla Limcaoco, president, Women in Maritime (WIMA Philippines); VAdm Eduardo Ma. R Santos, President, NI & IMarEST Philippines; and Mr. David Kelly, Director for Asia Pacific, IMarEST.
There were three discussion sessions in the one-day conference, namely, Perspectives: Maritime Situationers, Trends and Standards; Maritime Challenges: Prevention and Solutions; and Technology Aided Human-Centered Solutions
Experts spoke on their fields: C/E Alfredo Haboc, Deputy Administrator for Regional Concerns, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on “Philippine Policy on Maritime Safety”; UP law Prof. Jay Batongbacal, also executive Director, UP IMLOS on “Global SEASCAPE & Beyond”; Dr. Angelica Baylon, secretary, IMarEST & NI Philippiness, Director for External Affairs, MAAP on “Global Challenges and Current Trends: Issues on Philippine MET; Atty. Iris Baguilat, president, Doehle-Seafront Crewing-Manila on “The Competitiveness Issues of Philippines Seafaring”; Dr. Maragtas Amante, L4SS Maritime Studies Consultant and UP VP for Administration on “Maritime Labor Convention: Towards a Philippine Scorecard; Mr. Gerardo Borromeo, CEO-Phil Transmarine Carriers (PTC) on “State of Shipping”; Atty. Brenda V. Pimentel, president, Philippine Maritime Research Services (PHLMRSS) on “Women in Maritime: Learning the Ropes”; Capt. Yashwani Chhabra, fellow, Company of Master Mariners of India spoke on “Learn to Sail Safe; Preventing Collision on Sea”.
Also in the afternoon session were speakers Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, chairman, Health Futures Foundation and former health secretary on “Natural Remedies for Health Issues Confronting Seafarers”; Capt. Richard Teo, consultant, Papua New Guinea Maritime College – “Innovative Tools for MET and Continuing Learning”; and Engr. Rodolfo Lozada, CEO, Galileo (TARA apps) – “Safe APPS for Seafarers”.
Reactors and other discussants included: Dr. Elizabeth Salabas, former President, PAMI; Atty. Edwin dela Cruz, chairman, International Seafarers Action (ISAC); Bishop Bart Espartero, chairman, Mission Seafarers.org; Capt. Andre van Schoonhoven, Holland America Group; Riina Vaher, 2nd Officer, Marlow Navigation; Capt. Gaudencio Morales, president, Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines; Engr. Nelson Ramirez, president, United Filipino Seafarers (UFS); Allan Taule, Division Chief, DOST, “Starbooks, First Digital Library”; and Quiel Marcelo, marketing officer, Smart Communications – “Smart Marino All Abroad”
Dr. Edgar Despi, Quality Management Representative for ISO, MPCF-CCCS, led the soft launch of the L4SS official website: www.safeseafaring-org which will be operationalize few weeks after the conference.
Launched on the side of the conference was the Philippine edition of a book on sea safety, Mariners’ Guide to Preventing Collisions authored by Capt. Yashwani Chhabra, together with Capt. Kamal Chadra, Capt. Rodolfo Aspillaga, Dr. Baylon, guests from C&E Publishing, the Mariners Board and L4SS.
A Filipino representative of the Elsevier Foundation received a certificate of appreciation given by the L4SS and Mariners for the foundation led by its executive director David Ruth. L4SS is the only Philippine entity given a grant by Elsevier for the online library project for Filipino seafarers, maritime schools, and other industry stakeholder.
Meanwhile, Ms. Nimpa Valdez-Jimenez, MPCF board secretary, outlined the Conference Resolutions at the end of the conference:
1. For L4SS library for safe seafaring to be adopted as an innovative tool for maritime stakeholders under PAMI, PAMTCI and others to enhance MET and professional education;
2. To promote shared learning resources accessible to all students, educators and stakeholders maritime community with the support of our partners and sponsors;
3. To support competency-based quality learning materials like Mariner’s Guide to Preventing Collisions by encouraging seafarers’ acquisition in partnership with the stakeholders;
4. To promote rights of women seafarers including better access to MET; that onboard gender awareness and sensitivity training be encouraged on all ships manned by Filipino seafarers;
5. The full implementation of the ILO Maritime Labor Convention by passing laws on these;
6. To integrate education on ILO MLC 2006 level in the curriculum of all maritime schools Management Level courses and PTOS;
7. To supply free online learning materials like Starbooks to maritime education and training.
To review the discussions, visit You Tube link of the Conference on live streaming courtesy of Smart Communications and the UP ITDC: