PH, France agree to strengthen maritime sector

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PH, France agree to strengthen maritime sector
MARINA Administrator Atty. Hernani Fabia (second from left) and Embassy of France to the Philippines Economic Service Head Olivier Ginepro (third from left) during the signing of the memorandum of agreement on November 8.
  • The Maritime Industry Authority and the Embassy of France in Manila signed a MOA to strengthen maritime safety and security in the country, particularly in the shipbuilding and ship repair industries
  • Under the MOA signed on November 8, France will post a French maritime expert in the country to provide Marina technical assistance, training, and consultancy services
  • The MOA aims to help MARINA draw up a national transport plan for the shipping industry; make industry capability and capacity assessments; formulate policy; as well as assess and implement the Maritime Industry Development Plan

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia have signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen maritime safety and security in the country, particularly in the shipbuilding and ship repair industries.

Under the MOA signed on November 8, France will post in the country a French maritime expert who will provide the technical assistance, training, and consultancy service to MARINA.

In his statement before the signing, MARINA Administrator Hernani Fabia cited the various risks and issues in the domestic transport sector identified in a study by French shipbuilder OCEA S.A. in March 2020. OCEA also met in July with MARINA officials and discussed its plan of putting up a shipyard in the Philippines.

The MOA obligates the French Embassy in Manila “to promote France’s best maritime practices in ensuring the safety of life and property at sea, maritime security and marine environment protection; promote active participation in developing international standards for the safety and security of transport as well as preventing vessels from polluting the seas.”

The agreement also aims to aid MARINA in creating a national transport plan dedicated to the shipping industry; carry out industry capability and capacity assessments; formulate policy; as well as assess and implement the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) and its related trainings.

MARINA said both parties expressed a strong stance that a sustained partnership and collaboration will lead to the promotion and effective implementation of the MIDP.

The MIDP 2019-2028, launched in 2017 and updated last year, is a decade-long roadmap aimed at accelerating the development of a nationally integrated and globally competitive Philippine maritime industry.

READ: Marina launches 10-year maritime industry roadmap

It is the first comprehensive effort to understand and address the Philippine maritime sector’s core problem and the underlying causes of this problem. Among its targets is to replace obsolete and uneconomic vessels,  modernize the local fleet, enhance domestic shipbuilding, repair, maintain and develop a pool of trained manpower.

MARINA noted that in 2020, the Philippines ranked as the 5th largest shipbuilding nation in the world. The country also has about 29,974 registered vessels comprising 4,114 large merchant vessels and 25,860 motor bancas/boats and fishing bancas/boats. Of the merchant fleet, 11,898 are passenger ships.

MARINA said that excluding the COVID-19 pandemic years, more than 72 million passengers per year were carried by sea vessels.