For Filipino Seafarers Only, Or Maybe Not


Unless you’ve been rubbing shoulders with Alexander Selkirk or a displaced Tom Hanks in a Fedex pilot’s cap, you’ll know a) there’s a shortage of maritime officers and b) the Philippine manning industry is awfully interested in that chunk of pie since Filipinos comprise around 20 per cent of seafarers but somewhat less that 10 percent of officers.

In fact, only about one in every four Filipino deck cadets end up becoming officers, which is a waste.

Setting aside the thorny issue of maritime training in the Philippines a core problem seems to be that many Filipinos seafarers say to themselves “I don’t want to be an officer”. Thus the industry is now saying “yes, you do.”

One weapon in the armoury is a short video, ‘Kapitan’, produced by Smartlink, a Philippine telecommunications company that provides services to seafarers. It was obviously costly to make and features a Filipino seafarer facing promotion, presenting the benefits to one’s family, like a new car and a family bakery business, in the style of a pinoy soap opera, which are in a class of their own. There’s even a nod to women seafarers with the new captain’s daughter insisting that she wants to be one, too.

If the seafarer doesn’t get the message, you can be sure that his wife will, with resultant spousal arm-twisting.

At the end of this piece of come-hithering is a long list of manning/crewing agents who would dearly love Filipino seafarers to come-hither.

It’s quite an expensive production. That’s apparent from a rather nice bit of CGI work of a ship in a storm. I know these things are expensive because we use them regularly in our own video productions.

However, there’s a fairly glaring error in that quite expensive clip. Without scrolling to the top of this post, which shows a relevant frame from the video, what was/were that/those errors?

One only hopes that such sloppiness isn’t a measure of the quality of seafarer they hope to make into officers. Tut-tut.

Okay, you can look at it now.


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