Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warned that the Chinese seafarers will soon beat the Filipino seafarers in numbers as the deployment of the Chinese seafarers on non-China flagged vessels surged in 2020.
Locsin raised the concerns in reaction to reports that over 120,000 Chinese seafarers served on international vessels last year.
The Philippines’ foreign secretary tweeted that “They will soon beat Filipino seafarers in numbers. Why we need to man up and fix what’s wrong with our maritime schools.”
According to the foreign secretary, the Philippines government should prohibit anyone in government to operate maritime schools in the country.
Demand for Chinese seafarers surged last year due to the difficultly in making crew changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chinese seafarers have been especially in demand for new-buildings constructed at the country’s shipyards for international owners due to the difficulty in getting overseas nationality seafarers onboard the vessels for their first voyages.
Overall, the number of registered Chinese seafarers was 1,716,866 as the end of 2020, an increase of 3.5% year on year, including 258,896 female seafarers, according to a report released by the Chinese administration.
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“It is a new high record for China to send over 120,000 seafarers to other countries last year, a breakthrough for us,” said Cao Desheng, director of China Maritime Safety Administration, at a press conference, “currently, China has the world’s largest seafarers pool.”