The recent sending of thousands of OFW, Landbased and Seabased, back to their home through the directive of our President Rodrigo Duterte is a welcome development for our OFW stranded. It is a long overdue decision that should have been taken a little bit earlier. But OFW’s agony and dilemma are prolong due to LGUs requirement of another 14days quarantine. At least they are now near to their families and have an assurance of ending their prolong ordeal in MANILA. Problem partially solved.

I do want to be called an alarmist but we must take into account the darker days ahead in our Seabased OFW. We can not overlook the fact that the impending problem of SUPPLY and DEMAND of seafarers to change their Pinoy colleague is now in our doorstep. In the coming days most of our seafarers onboard will complete all together their contracts as well those who have already completed their contracts earlier. ARE WE READY TO RELIEVE THEM is a 1M $ question. I have been there for 20yrs myself and i know how they feel. If human fatigue and mental health condition reach its tolerable limit then the situation will drastically change.

The impending CREW CHANGES if not considered by our government will be a disaster to Maritime Industry. This is not a mere THREAT anymore but impending REALITY. If our government and lead agencies will not assist the MANNING INDUSTRY to perform their respective duties to the Shipowners, then the industry is headed to the drain.

The Cruise ship industry will not be able to recover for the next months or should I say years worldwide. So crew changes is not anymore a problem to them but the Commercial ships are here to stay otherwise the world will STOP turning.

To our government, please save the shipping industry by helping our traditional seafarers working onboard to be sent home and those who are here waiting to be deployed to relieve their colleagues. Please consider easing up the travel restrictions and docs requirement of those in the provinces to enable them to report to their respective agencies and to provide them with transportations by land, air and sea.

SEAFARERS are modern day heroes so they must be treated as one.

My views and opinion only.

By: Capt. Edgardo Flores

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