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From March 1 through March 4, 2011, the union welcomed and hosted over 65international delegates from Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Americas and Africa,representing seafarers’ organizations under its umbrella federation, the InternationalTransport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

The first meeting was the Asia/Pacific Seafarers’ Regional Committee Meeting (APSRC),an annual meeting attended by all seafarers’ affiliates in the region. It discussed currenttrends and issues affecting maritime employment, training, certification and welfare.Also in attendance was the Seafarers’ Section 1st Vice Chairperson, Capt. Yoji Fujisawa,and for the Secretariat, Mr. Jon Whitlow, Seafarers Section Secretary, Mr. MahendraSharma, Regional Secretary, Mr. Fabrizio Barcellona, Asst. Seafarers Section Secretary,Ms. Nishi Kapahi, Women’s Sector Representative, Mr. John Bainbridge, ITF PermanentRepresentative to the IMO, and Ms. Nicole McRae, also of the Seafarers Section.AMOSUP President, Dr. Conrado Oca, was also confirmed as Chairperson of the body atthe start of the meeting.

The assembly discussed seafarers’ issues, including the new Mexico Policy, MLC 2006,the IBF Negotiation Process, and the Somalia Piracy situation and ITF’s new campaignagainst it.

The second day saw the holding of a Maritime Forum for the Philippines. Aside from theforeign delegates, also in attendance were invited stakeholders of the maritime industry(JMG, IMMAJ and IMEC) including ranking government officials from DOLE, who were thekey resource speakers. The following four (4) topics were discussed during the forum:

POEA Standard Employment Contract for Filipino Seafarers, presented anddiscussed by Hon. Stella Z. Banawis, POEA Deputy Administrator;

STCW Amendments, presented by Mr. Bainbridge and Mr. Mike Murphy,Chairperson of the ITF Maritime Safety Committee;

Somalia Piracy, presented by Mr. Whitlow, Mr. Michael J. Estaniel of Trans-Global Manning Agency, Capt. Rolando G. Ormas of Marlow Navigation Phils.,Inc. and the government’s response was presented by Hon. Carmelita S.Dimson, OWWA Administrator; and

Fair Treatment of Seafarers including the Seafarers Identity DocumentConvention (ILO 185) presented by Mr. Murphy and by Hon. Hans Leo J.Cacdac, DOLE Undersecretary.

All presentations were followed by an open forum where the speakers were requestedto respond to all questions, written and from the floor. The forum participants made ita success as so many questions were asked of and answered by the speakers – livelydiscussions ensued after each presentation. The forum was chaired by Dr. Oca andmoderated by VAdm. Eduardo Ma. R. Santos, AFP (Ret.), AMOSUP Executive VicePresident.

The third and fourth days saw the holding of the ITF Maritime Safety Committee Meeting(MSC) and attended only by ITF affiliated Seafarers organizations. Over 40 participatedin the two-day highly technical deliberations covering IMO and ILO Conventions,Training, Safety, Security, Marine Pollution, Piracy issues, and recent maritime industrytechnological developments. The ITF MSC meets periodically and examines at a moretechnical level the above issues and formulates recommendations on appropriate positionsand policies that the federation may adopt and/or be part of its official position when itattends the global IMO MSC meetings in London. Mr. Mike Murphy, ITF MSC Chairpersonpresided over the deliberations and was ably assisted by Vice Chairperson Bjorn ErikKristoffersen, Mr. Bainbridge and Mr. Whitlow.

The ITF thanked the union’s general membership and leadership for hosting the three (3)important meetings and appreciated the hospitality shown to all delegates and participants.It also underscored the importance of cooperation among affiliates in all regions across theglobe, in reference to the conduct of meetings and forums.