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Philippines’ Seafarer Workforce Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

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June 26, 2023

By Manolo Serapio Jr. (Bloomberg) —

The Philippines, one of the world’s top suppliers of maritime labor, expects its seafarer deployment recovering to its pre-pandemic level by yearend, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said.

The Southeast Asian nation deployed close to 150,000 seafarers last quarter, putting it on track to reach its 2019 deployment, Ople told reporters on Monday at the sidelines of an international shipping summit.

“The road to recovery is very clear,” said Ople. “Projection wise, by the end of the year we will be back to pre-pandemic levels,” she said.

Full Coverage: COVID-19 and the Crew Change Crisis

Over 505,000 Filipino seafarers were deployed in 2019, but the number dropped during the pandemic. In 2022, the Philippines’ seafarer deployment had bounced back to nearly 490,000.

Shipping companies including those from the US have expressed interest in hiring Filipino crew members, Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista said separately at the same event.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in April said his government will “do everything” to address outstanding issues confronting its maritime industry after the European Commission agreed to continue recognizing government certificates issued to its seafarers.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P

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