MARITIME organisations and the Philippine government have together launched a new advisory committee to address maritime issues impacting Filipino seafarers.

Leaders from the International Chamber of Shipping, International Transport Workers Federation, European Community Shipowners’ Associations and International Maritime Employers’ Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines Department of Migrant Workers on 11 January.

Under the agreement, ICS, ITF, IMEC and ECSA have formed the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA).

“The Philippine government through its Department of Migrant Workers welcomes the participation of well-respected industry associations and leaders from the global shipping industry,” migrant workers secretary Susan Ople said.

IACGMA’s formation follows a meeting last month at which Filipino president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos suggested the establishment of a new advisory board to give advice on issues affecting Filipino seafarers.

ICs secretary general Guy Platten said the ICS looks forward to collaborating with the ECSA, IMEC, ITF and Philippines government to tackle the challenges ahead for the seafaring workforce.

“It is excellent that the IACGMA has been formed so swiftly following the industry’s meeting with President Marcos in December 2022,” Mr Platten said.

“It signifies the strength of commitment from industry and the Philippines to ensuring safety and protection for Filipino seafarers, who make up a huge 14% of the global seafarer workforce.”

International Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary Stephen Cotton said the ITF has a long history of working with affiliated unions in the Philippines to promote the importance and professionalism of seafarers in global shipping.

“Extending on collaboration during the pandemic, and our ongoing partnership in all aspects of the maritime environment, the new advisory committee will be essential to ensure that Filipino seafarers maintain the highest standards working on ships across the globe in the future,” Mr Cotton said.

“We welcome the steps taken by the Marcos government to put Filipino seafarers in the box seat to be at the forefront of addressing our industry’s challenges and promoting a sustainable future for maritime professionals.

“We call on other governments to follow the Philippines proactive leadership that is putting the future of seafarers at the heart of discussions and decisions on the future of shipping.”

IACGMA’s intends to contribute to the provision of appropriate training Filipino seafarers.

It also plans to address concerns regarding ambulance chasing and unfair labour practices and issues around employability of Filipino seafarers overseas.