Filipinos are employed as seaman more often than any other nationality.
The Skuld P&I Club issues Crew News Bulletin. The Skuld P&I Club has issued Crew News Bulletin refering to Filipino seafarers. In 2013, it was estimated that there are more than 460,000 Filipino seafarers, and there may be more Filipinos that are employed as seaman than any other nationality. The Club advises the following key steps for crew onboard:
- Good training to ensure crew stay safe and look after their health.
- Diligent PEME testing prior to engaging a crewman.
- Continued training and education while on board.
- Strong shore side support to ensure good on board discipline and following of procedures.
- Prompt response to crew injuries and illnesses.
- Appropriate follow up and after incident care.
This Bulletin includes a short summary of the most important decision for Filipino seafares, the 120/240 day ruling by the Supreme Court. This decision is applied in all subsequent crew cases in the Philippines. According to that rule, in case of injury or illness, the seafarer was entitled to sick wages for 120 days and when he reached or exceeded the 120 day period he was automatically entitled to 100% disability compensation. Now, the period of treatment has been extended to 240 days. Therefore, if a seafarer exceeded a period of 240 days and the Company designated physician (CDP) had not declared him “fit for work” within this time period and he still required medical treatment, he was deemed to be permanently and totally disabled and entitled to 100% disability compensation (“Vergara doctrine”).
The Bulletin includes facts, and court’s decision for the following cases:
- Case No. 1: Supreme Court rules seafarer who abandons treatment cannot claim benefits.
- Case No. 2: Supreme Court rules no benefits if injury caused by willful act.
- Case No. 3: Supreme Court finds that seafarer’s psoriasis was work related.
Also the Skuld P&I Club advises for Filipino crew on baord the following ”Hot Tips’:’
- Ensure that crew are sourced from accredited seaman schools complying with international standards, includ ing the SCTW Convention.
- Make sure that the MLC 2006, to which the Philippines is a signatory, is complied with during every stage of the crewman’s employment.
- Conduct rigorous PEME testing and seek to only use accredited or audited clinics.
- Make sure that crew know and follow the company’s rules on safety and health for their time on board the vessel : this is a continuing education process.
- Ensure crew know that their welfare is important, and have appropriate shore and on board procedures that support the crew for their time on board.
- Pre-plan for accidents and illnesses, so that there is a strong procedure in place, and all key stake holders know their role and respond promptly.
- Good after incident care and support will assist in ensuring the crew man enjoys the best chance of a speedy recovery and the ability to return to work.
- Good record keeping, from the initial assessment before employment, during the entire on board time and until signing off is essential.
Further information may be found by reading the Crew News Bulletin ‘FILIPINO LEGAL EDITION’ issued by the Skuld P&I Club.