Workshop held to boost Pinoy seafarers’ response vs. piracy

A training workshop aimed at improving Filipino seafarers’ overall preparedness against threats including sea piracy kicked off Monday, with Vice President Jejomar Binay as the key speaker.

In his¬†speech, Binay said through the workshop, he is confident that Filipino seafarers will be able to respond to threats of piracy “through targeted exposure to education and training in a cooperative approach between ASEAN countries, the United States (US) and representatives of the International Maritime Organization.”

Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, aired this at the opening of the First Expanded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Seafarers‚Äô Training‚ÄìCounter Piracy (EAST-CP) Workshop on Monday.

“I am especially glad that this seminar/ workshop focuses on the psycho-social needs of seafarers in dealing with surviving captivity and other post-capture and release issues,” he said.

Filipino mariners account for 30 percent of about 1.2 million seamen worldwide, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration records showed.

The workshop, a joint initiative of the Philippines and United States, is the first of its kind to build capacity and promote cooperation on maritime security issues, according to a statement from Binay’s office.

Binay said acts of piracy have created new challenges on training and educating seafarers and those who are responsible for their welfare.

Maritime schools have recognized the need for effective education and training as priorities in protecting the lives of seafarers, he added.

“I am glad that in preparing our seafarers with counter-piracy measures, we have as partners the US Maritime Administration, the US State Department, the US Mission to ASEAN, and the US Embassy here in Manila headed by His Excellency Harry Thomas, who are all with us today,” he said.

Binay also said such a workshop reflects the call of his office to secure the welfare of OFWs, “including our ever-reliable seafarers.‚Äù

He added that the workshop is modeled after a similar initiative of the US and the Philippines in 2009, and has expanded to include the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbors.

“Now, we have expanded that initiative to include our ASEAN neighbors in the hope that this will ripple across the whole seafaring industry in the region to help improve seafarer preparedness against threats of piracy and possible hostage situations, more so given the fact that most seafarers victimized by piracy are from ASEAN countries,” he said.

“The welfare of men and women at sea is something that is and should always be close to our hearts. For each person who braves the seas is more than a sailor. Each one is a provider seeking to build a better future for his family and loved ones,” Binay added. — KBK, GMA News


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