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MMAP CORNER C CAPT. RODOLFO A. ASPILLAGA, M.M. Pr President, Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines (MMAP)

Sailing the Cool Waves at Sea - Part 2 (Continued from Previous Issue) side from the visits at the ports of call, one must not forget its commercial importance and its impact in the world economy.


Importance in the global economy (Data taken from the web pages of Shipping Facts – information about the international shipping industry) According to reports, around 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. Without ships and the people that work on them, the import and export of goods on the scale necessary in the modern world would not be possible. Shipment of goods by sea continues to expand, bringing benefits for consumers across the globe through very competitive freight costs. We owe this to the efficiency of shipping as a mode of transport and thanks to the increased economic liberalization, the prospect for the shipping industry’s growth continues to be strong. Contributing to this global economic activity are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. The world fleet is registered in over 150 nations, and manned by over a million seafarers of virtually every nationality. With those numbers alone and the associated businesses linked to shipping including the generated employment of people in all sectors of society, it’s not difficult to realize how important and indispensable shipping is to the global economy. Today, global seaborne trade totals nearly 8 billion tons, and sea transportation accounts for more than 90% of goods traded between countries. Shipping is the lifeblood of the global economy. Without it, export countries would falter and importers would face desperate shortages. More fundamentally, much of the world would starve, societies would remain divided, and globalization would slow drastically. Impact on the lives of people (Data taken from the web pages of Shipping Facts – information about the international shipping industry) Surely, the situation in shipping has tremendous impact in the lives of people. One has only to look at the diverse types of goods we use every day to understand the importance of shipping in our lives. From the mouse to the computer screen, your under garments and shoes on your feet to the fuel that powers our cars and factories around the globe every day, what we now call the basic necessities of modern life are brought to us by

world trade. change and so does Although the shipping intheir trade. dustry has enjoyed record marEach sector has a kets and freight rates in recent different propensity for years, freight costs for consummaritime transport. er goods have historically repAgriculture, mining resented only a small fraction and manufacturing are of the shelf price, and continudirectly involved with ous improvements in technoltrade, either through ogy and efficiency have helped imports or exports and ensure maritime transport costs growth in these secremain very competitive. tors usually generates Here are some samples to trade. Increase in busishow you the benefit of sea ness in these sectors trade: produce cargoes and The typical cost to a contherefore has a strong sumer in the United States of propensity for maritime transporting crude oil from the transport. Middle East, in terms of the purWith a robust agchase of gasoline at the pump, riculture, mining and is about half a US cent per litmanufacturing, other ter. sectors will benefit due The typical cost of transportto global sea trade. ing a 20-foot container from Shipbuilders will genAsia to Europe carrying over 20 erate more newbuilding tons of cargo is about the same contracts; infrastructure as the economy airfare for a Shipping is indeed important and indispensable to the global economy. projects will be realsingle passenger on the same ized; the service sector journey. will greatly benefit and more employment The transport cost element in the shelf Impact to the Industry will be generated. price of goods varies from product to prodIn the middle of it all – there is the seaIt was said that international shipping uct, but is ultimately marginal. For exam- is the lifeblood of global economic growth; farer practicing his profession and conple, transport costs account for only 2% of that is, “as the global economy goes, so tributing to the global economy away from a television shelf price and only 1.2% of a goes shipping and related industries.” home. kilo of coffee. TURN TO PAGE 49 When countries grow, their economies




Sailing the Cool Waves at Sea - Part 2 vider for all their needs, from the basic items to the luxuries of life. A seafarer’s Consequences to family income has grown tremendously through Being away from one’s family and loved the years. From a salary of $4,000/month ones is the greatest sacrifice that a sea- in the 80s, a Filipino Master now earns up farer will experience in his practice of his to $8,000 per month in a container vessel profession. Lonesomeness could set in at which can go to as high as $10,000 per any moment, most especially when there month on a tanker vessel. are missed occasions which could be: You can just imagine what that kind of Anniversaries money can do if managed properly. It is Birthdays now incumbent to the seafarer’s family to Graduation value the sacrifices of their seafarer hero Reunions by managing well his hard-earned wages. Wakes and burials Most importantly, our seafarer hero deEtc serves all the love that we can give to Aside from family occasions, there are also events or incidents that could happen which are not expected, such as emergencies and involvement of children in undesirable activities, such as gangs, alcohol, and drug abuse. “Being absent when they needed you the most” can have consequences of guilt feelings which can destroy a seafarer’s disposition and eventual destruction of his career if there is little or lack of support extended to him during difficult times. We also hear of relationships being severed due to gaps between a seafarer’s spouse and in-laws. Such situations are kind of sticky of which there is no rule of thumb because it’s unique in each case. Lonesomeness can now be dealt with effectively, thanks to modern technology. Communication by phone even at the high seas can now be done with ease and is no longer as costly as what we were paying in the 80s. Taking advantage of modern technologies can now bring our seafarers closer to home. In taking care of social issues, shipping/management companies and manning agencies are now partnering with each other in order to develop programs that will reach out to families of the crew within their fleet. Listening to their concerns, and providing counseling if deem needed are done by professionals. Re-integration trainings and other social awareness programs are just some of the undertakings for the benefit of seafarers and their families. Boredom onboard is now addressed by providing entertainment equipment and the company’s regular exchange of videos, sports equipment, and reading materials onboard. The CDs produced by our local TV stations of their programs are among the materials sent onboard to keep our seafarers abreast of what’s going on here in the Philippines, including showbiz happenings, and for them not to miss out Capt. Barbel, Darna, Mara Clara, or other teleserye episodes. FROM PAGE 41

Positive impact to family Notwithstanding all the sacrifices and hardships, the seafarer is a hero to his family and community. To his family, he is the ever great pro-

him as a family. We must give him all the warmth that we can give during his vacation, show to him his importance and accord him the respect that he deserves. Seafaring industry has generated US$2.46 billion in 2010. This amount is a big contribution to the Philippine economy by way of consumer spending and perhaps, purchase of real properties. Their contribution, in fact, is one of the major factors why our economy has remained strong in the midst of economic crisis which hit globally two years ago up to the present. With this in mind, it is perhaps just fit-


ting for our government, specially the legislators to craft laws that will be truly beneficial to the welfare of our seafarers. From his education, training, assessment and certification up to the time he is issued a seaman’s book and deployed to work overseas onboard foreign vessel, the least we can do is to make life easier for him bureaucracy-wise while complying with international standards. They are what we call our living heroes, anyway. (In ending the presentation, a moment of silence was requested for all the Filipino maritime professionals who have fallen, gone missing at sea, or greatly sacrificed their lives for their love ones, for their country, for the entire human race to live in dignity and progress. Lastly, a moment of silence was offered to “the greatest of them all,” our dear beloved Capt. Gregorio Oca, the epitome of a true Filipino maritime professional.)

Sailing the Cool Waves at Sea II  

Article from Tinig ng Marino

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