Anti-Piracy Course for Filipino Seafarers in 2012
A new training course that aims to help Filipino seafarers fight maritime piracy was recently held in the United States of America (USA). According to the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. the pilot training course participated by Filipino seamen was conducted by the US Maritime Administration and it ended last October 21.
In a news release, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said, "In attendance from the Philippines were Capt. Abelardo Pacheco, Capt. Pancracio Alfonso (Ret.) of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) and Cadet Joseph Navasero also of MAAP.
The Embassy also informed that a similar cross-training program will be held in the Philippines in 2012. It will be done with the help of the Department of Labor and Employment-Maritime Training Council (DOLE-MTC).
The Philippine Ambassador in America, Jose Cuisia Jr. called it an "important first step in implementing the Memorandum of Cooperation on Maritime Counter-Piracy Training and Education."
He added that memorandum of cooperation "forms part of the strategic bilateral initiative aimed at developing an efficient and safe maritime transport industry."
Cuisia emphasized that the Philippines along with the global maritime industry condemns the violence of the sea pirates and their disrespect to human lives and properties.
Meanwhile, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood emphasized that the end goal of the one-week pilot training course is to "to build relationships, share ideas and experiences, and take action against the growing threat of piracy."
The USofficial also recognized the efforts of Pacheco, captain of the MT ""Stolt for his "tireless work against piracy" by giving him a plaque of recognition. Pacheco was captured by Somali pirates from November 10, 2008 to April 21, 2009.
According to US Maritime Administrator, David Matsuda said the pilot exchange "is just one of the ways the Maritime Administration is working to address the piracy issue."
Matsuda said, "As much as piracy is an economic issue, our first focus musts always be on the people and families it affects...we need to ensure that each and every one of our maritime professionals has the tools and training they need to handle emergency situations."
After the pilot training course, a draft resolution aims to establish a mechanism through which government, seafarer training institutions, industry, and international organizations can pursue cooperative efforts in addressing piracy will be prepared to be distributed to all maritime industry stakeholders and on the roundtable organized by the US MARAD.