October 16, 2014

0 COP Requirements for BT or Basic Training

Here's a summarized requirements for applying COP or Certificate of Competency for BT or Basic Training Instruction for all seafarers at MARINA.

October 15, 2014

0 SMART offers Prepaid International Data Roaming for PhP500/day

As a seafarer, have you experienced especially during anchorage times wherein you hoped you have access to internet? Or even during at port wherein you wanted to buy an internet SIM but you can't because you are not allowed to go onshore or there's no businessmen on board? I did! But the long wait is now over!

Smart finally offers international data roaming to its prepaid subscribers for PhP 500 per day. That's a very great news for seafarers and OFWs who does not have local internet SIMs on their location.




The ALL-DAY SURF ABROAD service is currently offered to these following countries:
  • Hong Kong (Hutchison)
  • Indonesia (Indosat)
  • Japan (NTT Docomo)
  • Macau (Hutchison)
  • Malaysia (Digi, Celcom)
  • Singapore (Starhub)
  • South Korea (KTF)
  • Taiwan (FET)
  • Thailand (True Move)
  • Vietnam (Vinaphone)
To activate prepaid data (ALL-DAY SURF ABROAD) service:
  1. Before leaving the Philippines, activate your roaming service by texting ROAM ON and send to 333.
  2. Make sure you have a minimum load of PhP 500.
  3. At your country of destination, manually select SMART's Conexus Roaming partner stated above if you are not connected yet. Go to your mobile phone's Mobile Network Settings and select the partner network. (example: for Singapore, select Starhub)
  4. Dial *133#  and press CALL to access USSD menu. Input 5 and press SEND to choose DATA ROAMING.
  5. From the available list of partner countries, input the designated number of your current location and press SEND.
  6. Then choose ALL-DAY SURF ABROAD 500. A confirmation for successful registration will be sent.
Take note that ALL-DAY SURF ABROAD is valid for same day subscription only from 12 midnight until 11:59PM. That means if you registered 11PM then you will only have 1 hour before the ALL-DAY SURF ABROAD service will expire.

October 10, 2014

0 All Land-Based Recruitment Agencies with Valid License: Updated as of October 2014

Ever wonder if your recruitment agency operates legally? Check it out if it is on POEA's list of all land-based recruitment agencies with valid license and spare yourself from future regrets and troubles. Here's the updated list as of October 2014 for your quick reference.

0 All Sea-Based Manning Agencies with Valid License: Updated as of October 2014

Here's the updated list as of October 2014 of all sea-based manning agencies with valid license as per POEA's website. Feel free to check if your desired manning agency is on the list to avoid future problems.

October 09, 2014

0 Certificates of Proficiency (COP) for Holders of TESDA Certificates of Competency (COC): Application, Requirements, Fees

Are you a seafarer holding a TESDA COC? Are you confused between COP and COC? Check the MARINA Circular No. 2013-08 below for complete information on qualification and documentary requirements for the issuance of COPs for deck and engine ratings.
MARINA and TESDA Logos
MARINA and TESDA Logos

September 10, 2014

1 Filing Income Tax for Seamen and OFW: What is Form 1703?

I've been working as a seafarer for more than three years already and our tax laws are very nice to people like us working abroad or commonly known as Overseas Filipino Workers. We enjoy tax-free salaries because the law states so, provided that all incomes are obtained outside the country.

So for three years I have never seen any BIR form for filing my income tax return. Unlike when I was working at a semiconductor company here in the Philippines where our HR updates us always about our ITR forms.

But recently I visited the website of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) just to check for anything worthwhile, then I stumbled to this downloadable Form 1703 from their site. The name of the form caught my attention. It's entitled "Annual Income Information Return for Non-Resident Citizens / OCWs and Seamen (for foreign-sourced income). The first thought that came into my mind was, "Oh no, I thought we are exempted? I might be in trouble! Penalties!". Knowing that the campaign of BIR against those tax evaders is very strong, it really made me research about it instantly.
BIR Form 1703
So I googled other blogs, social sites, threads, and actually read some taxation laws just to be clarified about this Form 1703. And here's what I've gathered. Some netizens shared that they have tried filing Form 1703 but they were instructed by BIR officials that OFWs doesn't need to file income tax. Maybe this Form 1703 is also not clear to some BIR staff. Some also say that Form 1703 is obsolete. But why it is still on BIR's website?
BIR Form No. 1703
Annual Income Information Return for Non-Resident Citizens / OCWs and Seamen (for foreign-sourced income)
Description
This information return is filed in triplicate by Non-resident citizens and Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs), including qualified Filipino seamen, on income derived from sources abroad.
An individual citizen of the Philippines who is working and deriving income from abroad as an overseas worker is taxable only on income from sources within the Philippines. Income from sources within the Philippines should be filed in either Form 1700 or Form 1701.
Filing Date
This information return is filed not later than the April 15 of the year following the taxable year in which the income was earned.

Based from the information I've gathered, it seems that this Form 1703 is neglected often. Honestly, I'm also not aware of this form before this post. But in my own opinion filing this Form 1703 has its own pros in the future especially when getting a loan which requires your ITR history.

As the name of the form says, it is only an annual income information return for foreign-sourced income. The BIR only wants to know how much you are earning from foreign sources and they will not tax you for it. The declaration of foreign-sourced income will only justify where did you get the money for buying that elegant car or huge house, etc. Anyway, filing this Form 1703 will cost you a small fee or even none (not sure about the fee but I will try to file next year to know it firsthand) as long as you only get your income outside the country.

For you guys out there you can post at the comment section for more information about this Form 1703. Your inputs are highly appreciated!

February 10, 2014

0 COP Requirements Issued by MARINA

Many are confused about the COP issued by MARINA because it is new to our fellow seafarers. Here's the detailed requirements issued by MARINA to guide seafarers, training centers, and manning agencies in processing COP.

Qualification and Documentary Requirements for Issuance of Certificate of Proficiency (COP)

MARINA CIRCULAR 2013-09
Annex A
Regulations
Sea Service Reqts.
Training Requirements
Documentary Requirements
Regulation V/1-1
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the Training
and Qualifications of Masters,
Officers and Ratings on Oil and
Chemical Tankers
None
Approved basic training for
oil and chemical tanker
cargo operations
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


For Masters and Officers:
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. COP on basic training for oil
and chemical tanker cargo
operations
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


At least 3 months of
approved seagoing
service on board Oil or
Chemical Tanker
Approved Advanced
Training course for Oil or
Chemical Tanker Cargo
Operations


For Revalidation (Masters and Officers)



Approved seagoing service of al least 12 months in
total during the preceding 5 years, or 3 months in
total during the preceding 6 months immediately
prior to revalidation; OR
. Successfully completing an approved relevant
training course or courses.
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. COP
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation V/1-2
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the Training
and Qualifications of Masters,
Officers and Ratings on
Liquefied Gas Tankers
None
Approved basic training for
liquefied gas tanker cargo
operations
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


For Masters and Officers:
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. COP on basic training for
liquefied gas tanker cargo
operations
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


At least 3 months of
approved seagoing
service on liquefied
gas tankers
Approved advanced
training for liquefied gas
tanker cargo operations
Regulation V/2
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the Training
and Qualifications of Masters,
Officers, Ratings and other
Personnel on Passenger Ships
None
Approved training on Crisis
Management and Human
Behavior
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation VI/1
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for Safety
Familiarization, Basic Training
and Instruction for all Seafarers
None
. Personal Survival
Techniques
. Fire Prevention and Fire
Fighting
. Elementary First Aid
. Personal Safety and
Social Responsibilities
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


For Revalidation
. Screening / Application Form
. Proof of seagoing service as
reflected in the SIRB
. COP
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
. Valid Medical Certificate issued
by accredited clinics or hospitals
using the DOH prescribed
PEME form


12 months for the last
5 years
Refresher Training on:

. Personal Survival
Techniques
. Fire Prevention and Fire
Fighting
Regulation VI/2
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the issue of
Certificates of Proficiency in
Survival Craft and Rescue
Boats other than Fast Craft
Boats:
Approved seagoing
service of not less
than 12 months
Approved training course in
Survival Craft and Rescue
Boats
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed”
. Enrolment Report Form


For Revalidation
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. COP
. Certification from the Master OR
Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA) as “passed” and
Enrolment Report Form


Approved seagoing
service of not less
than six months
. Refresher Training on
Survival Craft and Rescue
Boats other than Fast
Craft Boats, OR
. Certification and records
of drills/trainings
conducted on board
issued by the Master

Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the issue of
Certificates of Proficiency in
Fast Rescue Boats:
Approved seagoing
service of not less
than 12 months
Approved training course in
Fast Rescue Boats
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. COP in Survival Craft and
Rescue Boats other than Fast
Craft Boats
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Center Record of
Assessment (TCROA) as
“passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation VI/3
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for Training in
Advance Fire Fighting
Approved seagoing
service of not less
than 12 months
Approved Advance Training
in Techniques for Fighting
Fire, with particular
emphasis on organization,
tactics and command
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Center Record of
Assessment (TCROA) as
“passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation VI/4
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements relating to
Medical First Aid and Medical
Care
None
. Approved training course
in Medical First Aid
. Approved training course
in Medical Care
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Center Record of
Assessment (TCROA) as
“passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation VI/5
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for the issue of
Certificates of Proficiency for
Ship Security Officers
Approved seagoing
service of not less
than 12 months,
Approved training course in
Ship Security Officer
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Center Record of
Assessment (TCROA) as
“passed”
. Enrolment Report Form
Regulation VI/6
Mandatory Minimum
Requirements for Security-
related Training and Instruction
for all Seafarers
None
Training on Security
Awareness and Seafarers
with Designated Security
Duties
. Screening Form
. Certificate of Completion
. Training Completion and
Record of Assessment
(TCROA)
. Enrolment report
Transitional Provisions:



 Until 1 January 2014,
seafarers who commenced an
approved seagoing service
prior to the date of entry into
force of Section A VI/6.5 shall
be able to establish that they
meet the requirements of
Section VI/6.4



Transitional Provisions:


 Until 1 January 2014,
seafarers with designated
security duties who
commenced an approved
seagoing service prior to the
date of entry into force of
Section A VI/6.9 shall be able
to demonstrate competence
to undertake the tasks, duties
and responsibilities listed in
column 1 of Table A-VI/6-2
At least six (6) months
sea service within
three (3) years prior to
01 January 2012























Six (6) months sea
service within three (3)
years prior to 01
January 2012





























Approved Security Training
for Seafarers with
Designated Security Duties
. Screening / Application Form
. SIRB
. Certificate of Sea Service
























. Screening / Application
Form
. Certificate of Sea Service
showing his designation to
perform security duties on
board
. SIRB

January 22, 2014

0 Passport Renewal at Robinsons Galleria: Good or Bad?

As a seafarer or OFW who wants to renew his/her passport, I suggest you renew it at Robinsons Galleria located at EDSA cor. Ortigas Ave., Quezon City. The service there is fast and convenient based on my experience when I renewed my passport last December 2013. All you need to do is go to the DFA Consular Office located at Lingkod Pinoy Center, Level 1 West Lane of the said mall. Just ask the security guard on-duty and he will direct you to the appropriate line for seafarers and OFWs.

Lingkod Pinoy Center Robinsons Galleria
Lingkod Pinoy Center
at Robinsons Galleria
Here are the list of requirements needed if you are a seafarer. You need to bring the original and photocopies of these documents.

1. Passport (front, back cover, and valid VISA)
2. Seaman's Book (front, and the latest departure and arrival stamp from Philippine Immigration)
3. Seaman's Registration Certificate (SRC)
4. Proper Local ID (SSS, Driver's License, GSIS, PRC, IBP, OWWA, BIR, etc.)

The Lingkod Pinoy Center in Robinsons Galleria specially caters to us OFWs because we don't need to set an appointment in renewing unlike our non-OFW Kababayans. All we need to do is go there and bring all our necessary documents, fall in line, and wait for our turn.

The whole process will undergo document verification, processing, payment, and encoding. Just follow the line and be attentive when your queue number is called. They also have a very accommodating staff that will direct the flow of people. In my case I started lining up around 10:30AM and finished everything around 1:30PM. They also have a no lunch break policy so expect a continuous service. For me 3 hours is fast enough considering I went there late and the line was already long.

The fee for regular processing is PhP 950 and it will take 15 working days before you can have your e-passport. If you are in a hurry you can have express processing for PhP 1,200 that will take 7 working days. You can pick-up your passport on the date of release or you can send it to your home through a courier which in my case through LBC for PhP 120.

September 24, 2013

2 TESDA's COC is now known as MARINA's COP

It has been a while since my last blog post due to a busy schedule on-board my current vessel. Include the fact that internet access is very rare in our situation. I'm aware that many things have changed since then, but one thing is certain, it feels good to write again.

Anyway, upon scanning for news related to seafarers I was able to bump with TESDA's official website and found out that there were changes with TESDA's assessment and certification functions for deck and engine ratings. The old CoC or Certificate of Competency is now called CoP or Certificate of Proficiency. Previously the services were performed by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) but it is now transferred to MARINA (Maritime Industry Authority). Effective date was July 1, 2013.

Here is a copy of MARINA advisory from TESDA's official website.
30 June 2013
MARINA Advisory
No: 2013-10
Series of 2013
TO: All Shipping Companies/Seafarers/Manning Agencies/MARINA Regional Offices and All Concerned.
SUBJECT: Assumption by MARINA of TESDA Functions in the Conduct of Assessment and Certifications of Seafarers in the Ratings Category. 
Pursuant to Executive Order no. 75 and its Implementing  Rules and Regulations, and in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed on 18 March 2013, NOTICE is hereby given that MARINA shall assume, effective 1 July 2013, the functions related to the conduct of assessment and certification of ratings under Regulations II/4, III/4, II/5, and III/5 of the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended. 
To ensure the efficient transfer and exercise of the above functions, the following interim guidelines are hereby adopted:
1. Valid assessment center accreditation certificates issued by TESDA shall continue to be honored by the MARINA until their dates of expiry;
2. Assessment centers with accreditation certificates that expired in the month of June or about to expire in the month of July are deemed extended until 31 August 2013, and
3. Issuance by MARINA of Certificates of Proficiency (COP) pursuant to the above STCW Regulations shall commence only upon adoption and approval of the relevant Implementing Guidelines by the MARINA Board of Directors. 
For the guidance and compliance of all concerned. 
MAXIMO O. MEJIA, JR, PhD
Administrator

January 10, 2013

2 Passport With Less Than Six Months Validity Problem

Passport is one of the most important travel document seafarers need no matter what nationality you have. Did you know that some ports like Singapore and Indonesia require at least six months of passport validity in order not to be penalized with a fee or denied repatriation? The hard part of it is the payment for the penalty will be shouldered by the seafarer. It is very unfair for the seafarers but that is the reality.

That's why most manning agencies require seafarers to have at least 18 months of passport validity to avoid that scenario. For example, the current penalty fee at Indonesian ports is worth $500 from previously $165 is way too much for the seafarers. I think it is better that the penalty should be paid by the Principal/Owner/Manning Agency because there are some cases that they still send seafarers even though they already knew that the passport validity of the crew will not have enough 6 months allowance upon the completion of the contract duration. That situation occurs especially during urgent times like when the manning agency does not have enough available crews to deploy.

Did you experience this kind of problem on-board the vessel? If you do, please share your experiences at the comment section below to inform your fellow seafarers.

 
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