Harmonized inspection checklist of government agencies sought


OND Hesed Foundation in partnership with Plan International, convened the Inter-Agency Task Force on Safeguarding Against and Addressing Fishers’ Exploitation at Sea (SAFE Seas) in June 2020 at Horizon Suites in General Santos City.

    The meeting was called to create a Technical Working Group to represent and work on the SAFE Seas Project. The 4-year project aims at combatting labor exploitation of fishing vessels in Indonesia and the Philippines.

    The meeting also reviewed the existing inspection tools used by different government agencies on fishing vessels and crew. The meeting was attended by Shalimar Abdurahman, SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. Project Officer.

    Sr. Susan O. Bolanio, OND, started the meeting by presenting the previous meeting’s key points and the issues and concerns raised by the different stakeholders and members of the agency. She then solicited action plans to address the issues particularly the establishment of a help desk for fishworkers; convergence of inspection tools by the different agencies; and the need to engage the industry and government agencies to tackle labor exploitation.

Sr. Susan O. Bolanio, OND presenting the previous meeting’s key points.

    The meeting also reviewed the different inspection tools and mechanisms presently used by various government agencies on the fishing sector. These agencies include the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

    However, it was noted that even with the intent to harmonize and come up with one unified inspection checklist, each government agency’s inspection objectives and timing are different.

    BFAR inspection checklist focuses on seafood traceability and food safety requirements. The agency inspects all fishing vessels upon unloading of their fish catch. They also inspect fish processing plants for food safety accreditation.

    MARINA on the other hand, explained that their inspection process begins with the registration of new vessels. They ensure the fishing vessels’ safety and seaworthiness and their compliance with international regulations and conventions. MARINA’s inspection dwells on the preparation and safety aspect of the vessel before it is permitted to sail.

    Inspection of all merchant ships and fishing vessels prior their departure are undertaken by PCG to ensure and enforce compliance with safety standards, rules, and regulations including those set by MARINA and BFAR.

    Meanwhile, DOLE inspects the fishing vessels to ensure the safety and working conditions of fishers onboard who are engaged in commercial fishing operations.

    It was agreed that a joint inspection of BFAR, PCG, MARINA, and DOLE will be more practical and economical. Thus, a Memorandum of Understanding will be drafted for this purpose. The unification of the joint inspection checklist will eliminate redundancy in inspection and requirements.

    The SAFE Seas project focuses on improving enforcement to combat labor exploitation and decreasing the social constructs that enable this situation on fishing vessels. The project engages the private sector to strengthen the safety of workers, along with global supply chains. The project is based in Jakarta and Manila.

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SFFAII.COM: Harmonized inspection checklist of government agencies sought
Harmonized inspection checklist of government agencies sought
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