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4 Filipinos, 21 Indians onboard ship seized by Iranian forces

Four Filipinos and 21 Indians comprise the crew of the MSC Aries seized by the Iranian forces while passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, last April 13.


The MSC Aries, while registered in Portugal, is alleged to have ties to Israel.


The Philippines Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said in a statement, "Upon directive of the President, we are in touch with the families of our dear seafarers and have assured them of full government support and assistance." 


According to sources, India is in contact with Iranian authorities in both Tehran and Delhi to "ensure the security, welfare, and early release of Indian nationals" onboard the MSC Aries. 


Meanwhile, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) condemned the seizure of MSC Aries and called for the immediate release of the innocent seafarers and the ship.


ICS Secretary General Guy Platten stated, “Iran’s seizure of the MSC Aries is a flagrant breach of international law and an assault on freedom of navigation. This reprehensible attack against a merchant ship once again places innocent seafarers on the front lines of geopolitical conflict. Our thoughts are with the 25 Seafarers who are now captives of Iran, and with the families who are now in fear of their loved ones’ safety. Iran must release the ship as a matter of urgency.”


Portugl Minister of Foreign Affairs Paulo Rangel, gave an urgent press conference and emphasized that the situation is a “gross violation of the international rights by the Iranian State”.


The government official recalled that, as the ship has a Portuguese flag, the Government has the obligation, in accordance with legislation, to demand the immediate release of the ship and all crew members.


Cacdac inducts new FAME officers

Migrant Workers Officer-in-Charge Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac presided over the ceremonial oath-taking ceremony for the elected officers and Board of Directors of the Filipino Association of Mariners' Employment Inc. (FAME) on Monday, April 8, at the DMW Blas Ople building in Mandaluyong City.


FAME's elected officers for 2024-2025 are:


Mr. Ericson Marquez of Virjen Shipping, President;

Mr. Michael Estaniel of Trans-Global Maritime Agency, VP-External Affairs;

Mr. Jose Albar Kato of Albar Shipping & Trading, VP-Internal Affairs;

Capt. Ronald SJ Enrile of the Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Secretary; and

Ms. Carmen Rebusi of IMS Philippines Maritime, Treasurer.


The elected directors include:

Capt. Gaudencio Morales of Astra Marine International, 

Mr. Marlon Roño of Magsaysay Maritime,

Ms. Josephine Francisco of NYK-Fil Ship Management,

Capt. Reynaldo Casareo of Cargo Safeway,

Capt. Emmanuel Regio of Island Overseas Transport,

Mr. Miguel Angel Rocha of C.F Sharp Crew Management,

Atty Rodelio Ortiz of Stolt-Nielsen Philippines, 

Engr. Artemio Serafico of TSM Chemical Tankers (Phils), Inc.

Ms. Lenore Maxine Victoria Quijano of Barko International, and

Capt. Banny Briones of Multinational Maritime.


FAME is a non-stock, non-profit organization for manning and shipping in the Philippines, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1974.


Following a brief discussion with Secretary Cacdac about the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, FAME's new leaders convened a board meeting to discuss concerns facing Filipino seafarer employment and preparations for the organization's 50th founding anniversary celebration.




2 Filipino seafarers killed in Houthi attack - DMW

Two Filipinos were among the three crew members killed in the most recent attack by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, confirms the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).


Two of the four severely injured seafarers are also Filipinos. 


In a statement released by DMW, the agency extended its deepest condolences to the family and kin of the “slain heroic seafarers.” For reasons of privacy, their names and identities were withheld. 


As directed by the President, the DMW is coordinating with the ship’s manning agency and shipowner to ascertain the conditions of the rest of the Filipino crew and work on their repatriation.


The U.S. Central Command reported that “At approximately 11:30 a.m. (Sanaa time) March 6, an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) was launched from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward M/V True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier while transiting the Gulf of Aden.”


The crew of 20 includes 15 Filipinos, one Indian, and four Vietnamese nationals. At the time of the incident, there were also three armed guards from Sri Lanka and Nepal.


The DMW reiterated its call to shipowners with ships navigating the volatile Red Sea – Gulf of Aden sea lanes to comply strictly with the expanded “high-risk areas” designation and to implement appropriate risk mitigation measures, such as rerouting vessels and deploying armed security personnel onboard such vessels.


Furthermore, the agency called for continued diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions and to address the causes of the current conflict in the Middle East.



Read the related story: 

3 seafarers killed, 4 injured in Houthi attack


3 seafarers killed, 4 injured in Houthi attack

Three crew members and at least four others were injured in a recent attack by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.


“At approximately 11:30 a.m. (Sanaa time) March 6, an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) was launched from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward M/V True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier while transiting the Gulf of Aden,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Central Command.


The ship's multinational crew reported that the vessel was attacked by the missile, resulting in substantial damage to the vessel, three fatalities, and at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition.


Coalition warships have responded to the abandoned ship and are currently evaluating the situation.


This is the fifth ASBM fired by Houthis in the last two days. Two of these ASBMs impacted two shipping vessels - M/V MSC Sky II and M/V True Confidence - and one ASBM was shot down by USS Carney (DDG 64).


“These reckless attacks by the Houthis have disrupted global trade and taken the lives of international seafarers,” the statement read.





January - February 2024 Edition


November 2023 Edition


July - September 2023 Edition




PAMI President Czar Manglicmot II on Magna Carta


CONG. RON SALO on Magna Carta


PAMI President Czar Manglicmot II on EMSA


MARINA Administrator Fabia on MLC



Mariners Polytechnic Colleges, 50 years!

Bicol’s premier maritime institution, Mariners Polytechnic Colleges, commemorated its 50th founding anniversary on March 2-4, with the theme “Mariners’-50 years of Golden Service! Looking back and beyond…”


Dr. Marilissa Jimenez-Ampuan, President of MPCI and MPCF Canaman stated, “We are so much grateful. We will always include and embed the core values of our institution: leadership, social responsibility, honesty, and discipline.”


The officers, faculty, staff, students and alumni from all three campuses – Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges- Naga (MPCI), Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges Foundation of Canaman and Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges Foundation of Legazpi joined together in various festivities to celebrate the milestone event.


The activities included a grand parade and motorcade, basketball and volleyball exhibition games, a swimming competition, a trade fair, a pageant and raffle draws.


The inauguration of the MPCI Campus Museum, which features memorabilia of the late founder Commodore Jaime C. Jimenez, was the highlight of the occasion.


The event concluded with a Grand Awards Night at The Tent, Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City, attended by Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion and Secretary Suharto Teng Mangudadatu, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General.


Awards were given to personnel logging 5-10-25-30 years of service, retired employees and the families of posthumous awardees. MPC’s institutional partners and outstanding alumni were also honored.


Mariners Polytechnic Colleges was conceived and founded by the late Commodore Jaime C. Jimenez, Sr., a retired officer of the Philippine Navy, Chief Marine Officer, and a staunch advocate for quality education. He formerly served as President of the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI).


Commodore Jimenez, believed that the youth must be given the best education so they will become effective leaders of tomorrow. Hence, in 1974, he established the Mariners Polytechnic School in Manila with an initial enrollment of 35 students. Commodore Jimenez decided to transfer the school in the Bicol Region to help fellow Bicolanos in developing into competent seafarers.


Kongsberg’s Simulation Conference 



“The MARINA is one with the industry in acknowledging that simulation plays a crucial role for enabling seafarers and leveling their competence to the emerging technologies in shipping,” says Ms. Presca Lee Lugo, Maritime Education and Training Standards Supervisor (METSS) of the MARINA STCW Office.


Ms. Lugo was a guest speaker at the Kongsberg Digital Maritime Simulation Sim Connect 2023 conference, held November 25 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, attended by educators and trainers to share knowledge and experience and collaborate.


She lauded Kongsberg as “a highly respected name in our industry, which has supported and has continuously supporting the training needs of the maritime higher education institutions and training centers here in the Philippines.”


Lugo also announced that “the use of cloud-based simulator is allowed particularly for distance learning and e-learning,” as stated by MARINA circular 2021-10.


While she firmly believes that “simulator-aided maritime education and training is a highly valued tool to ensure we have a ready maritime workforce by 2030 and beyond,” Lugo pointed out that “we need the best instructors to maximize the potentials of the state-of-the-art simulators.”



“The Philippines has been and continues to be the most important country for supply of skilled seafarers. That alone is a good reason for holding this Sim Connect conference,” says Are Føllesdal Tjønn, Kongsberg Digital Managing Director for Maritime Simulation.


With extensive experience in software and technology, Tjonn states that “the maritime industry is going through a rapid technical transformation, driven by the adoption of new fuel types.”


“At Kongsberg we are committed to ensuring that our simulator training solutions meet the highest international standards,” ensures Tjonn.


Accordingly, Kongsberg Digital’s Vice President Erle Kristin Wagle foresees that “there will be a higher degree of collaboration between ship and shore.”


“The shore base will have more control about what’s going on onboard. And they will also communicate more with people onboard to ensure that they operate the vessel efficiently.”


“We have talked to quite a few shipowners, ship operators, ship managers and owners. It looks like it's gonna be a trend that the shipowners will put pressure on the training institutions to ensure we are not just fulfilling the foundation related to the STCW requirements, but we need to go beyond compliance to ensure that we are mitigating risk related to accidents onboard the ships,” shares Wagle.



Kongsberg Digital’s Product Director Martin Reiten and Product Advisor Tormod Nordeng, as well as Capt. George Neil Paraoan, CEO of Integrated Maritime, presented updates on the use and impact of simulators in education, training and assessments.


Area Sales Manager Peterwilson Tamang provided information on Kongsberg’s latest product and service offerings.


He also reassured the customers of their continued assistance regarding previously owned, recently acquired, or upgraded simulators.


Kongsberg Digital’s Regional Sales Director Asraf Ibrahim facilitated the conference program while Sales Manager Alvin Hurtada and the three competent staff Roberto, Eric and Sunshine assisted and discussed with the participants.


Ms. Lugo and the Kongsberg Digital team addressed the questions and concerns of the attendees during the Q&A session.  MW



SOLVANG Gears Up for Sustainable Future

"Welcome to our future!" Mr. Kjetil Meling, director of human resources for the Solvang ASA, exclaimed as he introduced the cadets.


This year's 2023 Solvang Crew Conference and Christmas Party brought 35 first and second year cadets from University of Cebu, DMMA College of Southern Philippines, and Lyceum International Maritime Academy (LIMA) of the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas.


It was a traditional Solvang Family reunion, but this time there were more cadets in attendance who interacted with the company's 80 participating officers and crew. 


The activities were suitably held along the 1.5-kilometer stretch of white sand, luring water, and breathtaking vistas of nature at the Pico Sands Hotel in Nasugbu, Batangas on November 10–11, 2023.


Mr. Meling urged the officers and crew to “treat the cadets the way you wanted to be treated when you were a cadet yourself.”


“They are young, they are hungry on knowledge, they are hungry on experience and in this room, we have a lot of experience so share it with them, so that they know what’s waiting for them when they join our vessels,” Mr. Meling continued. 


“What we do during the few days is actually defining Solvang,” Meling declared.


We have fun together, we discuss together and we find solutions together.



Solvang ASA, one of the world’s leading LPG and petrochemicals transporters, currently owns and operates 23 ships: 8 semi-refrigerated/ethylene carriers, 9 LGCs and 6 VLGCs. This was after it recently sold 4 aging vessels.


Five newbuilds are scheduled for delivery between 2026 and 2027, following Solvang ASA and Gunvor Group Ltd joint venture to own and operate next generation eco-vessels for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market.


Mr. Meling explained, “It’s a financial decision to position ourselves to be a solid company for the future.”


He assured to their seafarers, “This is job security for all of you if you follow the rules, be transparent, be trustworthy.


We are solid company so we now look for opportunities, so we will grow even more.



Mr. Tor Øyvind Ask, Solvang ASA Fleet Director underscored that the organization works “in the safest, cleanest and most cost-efficient manner.”


“We have really focused on our future many years, so there is nothing new for us,” he stated.


Mr. Ask provided updates on Solvang’s sustainability goals, of which the carbon capture and storage (CCS) pilot project is a major undertaking of the company with Wärtsilä, a world leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions catering to the marine and energy sectors.


Solvang's objective with the CCS pilot is to implement sustainable technologies across the fleet and help to reducing the environmental footprint of global shipping. This is in accordance with the International Maritime Organization's GHG-reduction framework and other international initiatives.


The project complements a series of significant steps in the fields of machine operations optimization, transmission technology, propeller and rudder upgrades, hull optimization, and advanced open-loop scrubber technology.


Ask spoke on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) reporting with reference to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).


Transparency and adaptability.

Mr. Knut Vespestad, Solvang ASA Senior Maritime Superintendent, and Mr. Stefanos Stylianos, Chairman of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) Vetting Committee, discussed the latest developments and issues on vetting inspections. 


The new Transparency Act, as elucidated by Ms. Tanja Hunshamar, Solvang ASA Supply Chain Manager, serves to fortify Solvang's fundamental principles of teamwork and mutual respect as they pertain to its business operations.


Ms. Vanessa Alac, MarTrust's Customer Success Specialist introduced the benefits of MarTrust E-Wallet.


Solvang Philippines President Capt. Virgilio A. Lopez Jr. and Vice President Capt. Iriz Jimmy Lin Paiton, joined the speakers at the open forum session to clarify and respond to the seafarers’ concerns.



The occasion was even made more meaningful with the presence of the Solvang’s owner, the Steensland Family, who experienced the warmth of Filipino hospitality.


The Lahing Batangan Dance Troupe and the LPU Vocal Harmonics, the official dance company and the official choral group of the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas City wowed the audience at the welcome dinner. LPU is Solvang’s newest partner school under the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) Cadetship Program. 


Seafarers and their families had a great time at the company sponsored Kiddie Party after the conclusion of the conference.


In the evening, a white-themed celebration was organized at Pico Beach – a symbolic representation of Solvang Family's resiliency in enduring the epidemic and adapting to changes in pursuit of a sustainable future.  MW




UMTC Silver Anniversary

Partnership for Excellence

“You are the reason why we are here today. You are the reason why we have had overcome the challenges of the past and you are the reason why we continue to exist and develop good quality world-class seafarers,” declares UMTC Managing Director Engr. Donald Bautista.


More than 40 maritime companies were honored during the United Marine Training Center Silver Anniversary celebrations held on November 22, 2023 at the top deck of the UMTC building in Malate, Manila. 


Shipmanagement companies, manning agencies, and training centers represented by their key executives, received plaques of appreciation for their contributions to UMTC’s mission of providing quality training to seafarers.


As Bautista thanked the stakeholders for the trust and partnership, he received a round of applause as he stated “Together we will continue to develop seafarers. Together we will propagate to the wave of the seas that seafarer is not just noble, it is not just important; it is rewarding and respected profession.”



UMTC President Capt. Antonio Galvez, Jr. claims, “For quarter of a century, UMTC has been at the forefront of maritime education playing a pivotal role in shaping and nurturing highly competent marine professionals.”


During a time when the Philippines' maritime education was being questioned, he said, “It was in the last quarter 1998 when Marlow decided to address the quality of our seafarers being sent onboard to man vessels.”


In March 2001 Marlow Navigation Training Center was officially registered to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). From a rented classroom of approximately 60 square meters, an 8,000-square-meter UMTC building was built in 2007.


“As the years go by, we have been approached by some manning companies if we can also provide them the training that we provide our principals.


In 2015 we therefore embrace our training center under the name United Marine Training Center (UMTC), symbolizing our commitment to collaboration and unity within the maritime community,” narrates Galvez. 


This change underscores our dedication to foster the spirit of partnership, we share the commitment for the advancement of the industry,” he underscores.


Marlow Navigation’s Chairman Hermann Eden expressed appreciation and gratitude to the UMTC team for delivering “excellent services” to all Marlow Group clients, and “extending services to many other third-party entities to significantly enhance the quality of training for the benefit of the shipping industry in general.”


On the other hand, Bautista thanked the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), TESDA, the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) for “helping the industry, making the Filipinos better seafarers by assisting organizations like us to offer courses.” 


He asserts, “UMTC is a home of quality learning, builds management level officers, collaborates with our suppliers, clients, and regulatory bodies to further enhance our expertise in shaping the maritime Industry.”



The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) bestowed UMTC the prestigious Seal of Integrity award, in recognition of its unwavering commitment in setting the bar high in adhering TESDA policies, guidelines and quality management principles.


The UMTC made history by being the first and only institution to be recognized as a beacon of excellence in the Philippine TVET competency evaluation and accreditation system.


"To all the partners and clients of the UMTC, present today, you are in good hands," the TESDA official said, citing the UMTC's remarkable accomplishments in competency assessment and education in the country.



On behalf of the UMTC team, Bautista and Galvez reaffirmed their commitment “to continue to serve the industry for the next 25 years and beyond, capitalizing on innovation and digitalization.”


Bautista announced their new partnerships with the Mission to Seafarers, a charity that provides help and support to seafarers, and the Green Marine, which is at the forefront of the methanol technology. He confirms “This methanol engine will soon find its way to the premises of UMTC in 2024.”


Galvez asserts, “Our concentrated efforts to quality have been reflected in our state-of-the-art facilities, dedicated instructors and staff who embody the spirit of excellence.


“Looking ahead, we are committed to excellence and innovation. We will remain steadfast in our mission to empower seafarers with skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of the maritime industry with confidence and competence.” 


With great pride, the senior executives and managers of UMTC gathered on stage, lifted their glasses, and spearheaded the toast to celebrate.


Everyone enjoyed the dinner prepared by the UMTC Culinary Training Department, the loads of raffle prizes and giveaways, the fantastic performances, and, most importantly, the bonding and friendships.



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