Filipino Seamen: Asian Pride of the Pacific
Ever wonder who mans or how ships are being operated? Whether they be for passenger vessels, container ships, tankers such as oil, chemical or other general tankers, tugboats etc, who are the people who make sure they all operate efficiently and most of all safely? Seamen, or simply sailors or seafarers are the brave men of the waters who make the ships go round. They generally operate and maintain ships, and also off board ship related tasks. There are quite many positions or ranks, such as highly ranked seamen, engineers, third rank, chefs, and among others.
The country that is well known for highly skilled and brave seamen is no other than the Philippines. In fact, the country is the seamen manning capital of the world, because according to the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration or POEA, the nation had been the world leading provider of high quality seamen. Strength lies in numbers, so let us take a closer look at the statistics that all Filipinos can be proud of!
Strength in Numbers
226,900. That is a magic number in 2007. That is the total number of Filipino seamen who had worked overseas, with many different designations and ships. Filipino seamen worked in all types of ships or vessels imaginable, from small to massive ones. To dissect the fact further, Japan’s maritime operations had 70% Filipinos onboard their ships, with around 28,000 Filipinos working tirelessly. The United States also depended on the skills of Filipino Seamen and employed 650 Filipinos in their mammoth vessel named the USS Blue Ridge. Flag of Convenience ships or FOC ships which are foreign ships registered in another state, are also dominated by Filipinos. Around a dozen countries namely Panama, Bahamas, Liberia, Singapore, Marshall Islands, the UK, Malta, Cyprus, Netherlands, and Norway employed tons of Filipino Seamen, and the percentages are staggering, with an average of 10-20% of their overall onboard crews coming from the Philippines! But why do many nations really resort to Filipinos for their seamen needs? Filipinos are proven to be very diligent, and have this intangible thing called “diskarte” in Filipino, which means the ability to gain the upper hand in any given situation. This is true not only in the seas, but also in many other areas as well. Filipinos truly are talented and world class!
All for Glory
After talking about the numbers, let us discuss the contributions and legacy that the Filipino pride is continually giving to the country and to the globe as well. The Philippine economy is fairly a Tiger in the Asian economy, and bulk of the US dollar remittances to the country is from Filipino seamen. An immediate proof of this is from Japan alone in 2008, around 28,000 seamen brought home a whopping 3 billion US Dollars! 2009 also was a good year as 2.501 billion US Dollars were sent in the first nine months alone. This drastically affects the lives of Filipinos in the country by increasing the value of the Philippine Peso and making the country a king of the seas by being a top source for workers. The world also sees Filipinos as unsung heroes, as they have contributed in the global trade of import and export of goods overseas. History presents us of deaths or casualties of Filipinos onboard, reflecting their bravery and dedication to work; to provide good service to many countries of the world, and of course bag glory and pride for the Philippines! Long live and kudos to the Filipino Seamen!
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