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A Seaman's Book or SIRB is one among the basic documents a seafarer should have in order for him/her to land a job on-board a ship or vessel. The post below outlines the requirements and fees for application and renewal of your Seaman's Book or SIRB.

I recently applied for an ETO-COC (Electro-Technical Officer Certificate of Competency) at MARINA as a requirement of my company for my next vessel assignment. Actually, this ETO-COC is a requirement for seafarers who will serve on-board vessels in capacity relevant to the duties and responsibilities of an ETO under Regulation III/6 of the STCW Convention. If you want to know the full details, kindly check STCW Circular No. 2016-04 from MARINA. I outlined in this post the requirements, procedure, fees, and my personal experience in applying for an ETO-COC in MARINA.

Rejoice, celebrate, and inform your friends, because MARINA's Daily Journal Of Bridge Watchkeeping Duties And Daily Journal Of Engine-Room Watchkeeping Duties are not required anymore for purposes of licensure examination and issuance of Certifacete of Competency (COC) as Officer-In-Charge of a Navigational Watch (OIC-NW) or Officer-In-Charge of an Engineering Watch (OIC-EW) as evidenced by STCW Circular No. 2016-01.
In our previous post, Top 18 Maritime Schools in the Philippines for 2015, we shared the Philippine maritime schools ranking based on the data gathered by FindUniversity.ph on previous board exams conducted by the PRC. But as we all know, currently the management and regulation of our maritime sector is now under MARINA including the examinations previously done by the PRC.

MARINA published the list of maritime schools or Maritime Higher Education Institutions (MHEI) that is recognized or accredited by MARINA to offer BS Marine Transportation and BS Marine Engineering courses. This means that if your school is one among the list below, your school passed the standards required to produce quality seafarers.

Check these lists of MHEI recognized by MARINA to offer Merchant Marine (Deck and Engineer) Officer Programs.

Does your school belongs to the top maritime schools in the Philippines? Being on the top will certainly provide boost on your career and an additional bragging rights.

FindUniversity.ph conducted the first ranking of Philippine universities based on relevant, up-to-date, and measurable data. In their 2015 ranking of Philippine maritime schools, they based it on aggregated passing rates of each school in all maritime board exams that their graduates participated in.

The PRC has 6 different maritime board exams namely: OIC of a Navigational Watch, Officer-In-Charge of an Engineering Watch, Second Marine Engineer Officer, Chief Mate, Master Mariner, and Chief Marine Engineer Officer. FindUniversity.ph aggregated the results from those board exams, ranked each school in each board exam, and then aggregated the rankings for each school, to come up with a weighted board exams ranking for each school.

These top 18 maritime schools in the Philippines for 2015 were ranked in at least 4 maritime board exams.

We shared on our previous post, "Top 6 House Designs Under 1 Million Pesos" and "Top 5 Expensive-Looking But Budget-Friendly Modern House Designs", about different house designs that we could build on a budget. But those were just the external part of house designs.

It is true that we often judge a house through its external features, but I think the most important part of a house is its interior. A house with good interior floor plan and design makes your daily living as organized as it can be.

Check these top 15 free 3D floor plan designs for 2-bedroom houses and apartments and start building that dream house of yours.

Have you heard about Ms. Pastillas? I bet you did! But in case you do not have any idea who she is, use the almighty Google and you will certainly know her.

She is a girl who uploaded a video in Facebook about making pastillas (a Filipino sweet delicacy) in a bittersweet manner that went viral. She was then discovered by an ABS-CBN noontime program, It's Showtime, and the rest was history.

In the program It's Showtime, many men have expressed their feelings for Ms. Pastillas in many ways possible. Actually, the show turned out to be something like a dating game that aims to help Ms. Pastillas find her Mr. Pastillas. But until now she is still looking for the one.

What house design interests you most? In this modern world that we live in, would it be great if we live in a modern designed house too? Modern house design brings out beauty and elegance in those simple geometrically shaped structures.

A modern designed house looks very expensive to the naked eye. But would you believe that you can build a 4-bedroom modern designed house for around 1.2 million pesos only? That's the great thing about modern house designs, they look expensive yet you can have it on a budget.

Check these top 5 expensive-looking but budget-friendly modern house designs that should earn a spot on your bucket list.

What things should an OFW not put inside their balikbayan box so that the Bureau of Customs will not open their boxes or charge them with taxes? That's the big question that until now is unclear to almost everyone.

According to the Bureau of Customs, under the law, these are the main guidelines in sending a balikbayan box:
We all hope and wish to have our own dream house. We work hard and save a fortune so that when the right time comes, we can select the best house our money can buy. As we slowly strive in achieving that dream, most of us would look for designs that will fit our budget and satisfy our design taste.

A beautiful house does not need to be expensive. Do you know that for less than one million pesos you can build your own dream house? It all takes about finding the right group of professionals (architects, engineers, builders) that can provide you that service.

Check these top 6 house designs that cost under one million pesos.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to an equipment designed to protect a person from body injury or infection. Examples are protective clothing, helmets, gloves, goggles, ear plugs, breathing apparatus, and more. They are specifically made to withstand harmful conditions that a person may encounter in a workplace.
Whether you work on land or at sea, PPE is a very important part of safety measures a workplace should strictly implement. But some people are just so stubborn that they risk their safety in exchange for comfort of not wearing their designated PPE.

photo credit: www.uvm.edu

On September 10, 2015, MARINA posted on their official website an update on the "Mandatory Minimum Requirements for Education, Training, Examination, Assessment and Certification of Electro-Technical Officers Serving On a Seagoing Ship Powered By Main Propulsion Machinery of 750 KW Propulsion Power or More" or also known as STCW Circular No. 2015-13.

STCW Circular No. 2015-13 is now an approved circular. To view the full STCW Circular No. 2015-13 document you can download it here. You can also check MARINA's STCW office website for more approved circulars and updates.

So, what is this circular all about? If you are working on-board a ship or planning to work on-board a ship as an electrician, electrical officer, electro-technical officer, electrical engineer, assistant electrician, cadet electrician, or trainee electrician, then you should really read on.
Ship launching is the process of transferring a vessel to the water. It is a tradition practiced dating back thousands of years ago. Ship launching is believed to invite good luck, by means of breaking a sacrificial bottle of champagne over the bow of the ship while shouting its name and then launching.

Ship launching isn't that simple, it requires engineering prowess especially with those big ones. Miscalculation will surely lead to catastrophe and million dollars worth of steel will surely go down the drain.

After years of service, a ship usually ends up being chopped down for recycling. In Bangladesh, about 150 to 200 ships are being broken every year. That number continues to increase due to very low labor cost.

Ship-breaking is one of the world's most dangerous jobs, but some men in Bangladesh are desperate for work. Despite the harsh conditions and hazards encountered, they still continue to do the job.

A warship is a naval ship that is primarily built for the armed forces of a state intended for naval warfare. Warships are armed and designed to withstand damage. Compared to merchant ships, warships are more maneuverable and usually faster.

A country with good naval troops and ships is definitely a great force to be reckoned with.

A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages. The voyage itself and the amenities on board are part of the great experience. Passengers are also treated with different spectacular destinations along the way.

Cruise ships give lasting memories to their passengers and is considered as a moving paradise by most. Working in a cruise ship has its benefits also.

Before a seafarer can work on board a ship, he/she is required to undergo medical examinations to verify his capability or fitness to work. That's the main reason why seafarers should value their health or else they will lose their jobs.

A few months ago I was instructed by my agency to undergo medical examination at SuperCare Medical Services Inc. as a basic requirement for employment. SuperCare or SMSI is located at 573 Patria Bldg., Maria Orosa cor. Engracia Reyes, Ermita, Manila.

Actually, that was my first time to undergo medical examination at SuperCare since my previous agency sends their crew into a different clinic. Here's my personal experience and observation regarding SuperCare's services and facilities. Take note that this is just my personal experience and this does not reflect what others may experience too.

Experts say that the best way to prevent baggage theft is to keep an eye of your belongings at all times. But that is not practical or possible in some conditions. Especially at airports where you are supposed to check-in large baggage not allowed inside the airplane cabin. Is your baggage really secure?

How secure is your baggage really if even inside the airport there are cases of theft like in this news (six nabbed at NAIA for baggage theft)? You should remember that thieves are experts at what they do. All you need is to make their job more difficult so that they will turn away or give up. These are the things you should do to lower the chances of being a victim of baggage theft.
Do you agree that salary is the main motivation or reason why Filipinos pursue to become seafarers? I personally believe it is. Despite the hardships seafarers encounter at sea, they continue to strive and perform their duties very well. Despite the long distance the job requires, seafarers are willing to sacrifice for the sake of their family and loved ones. So, how much compensation or salary do they really receive for their hard work?

The ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) is an international trade union federation of transport workers' union. It promotes respect for trade union and human rights worldwide, that includes salary of seafarers. If your ship is covered by an ITF agreement, you are entitled to an ITF wage. Please see the table below.

Are you a seafarer's family member and wants to check where is his/her ship currently at? Or are you a seafarer waiting to join a ship and wants to monitor your vessel's arrival? Or an enthusiast who wants to know details of a certain ship? Whoever you are as long as your main concern is to know information about a certain ship, all you need to do is check these top 3 free ship tracking websites. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a look at it one by one.
screenshot from www.vesselfinder live map