Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Philippines

Filipinos thinking of becoming sea-based OFWs will definitely need to acquaint themselves with the programs and services related to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA). This is the agency responsible for ensuring the efficient and safe sea travel of Filipinos, as well as the regulation and promotion of the Philippine maritime industry. Understanding MARINA’s policies, training requirements, and certifications is crucial for those aspiring to join the ranks of sea-based OFWs, as it will greatly impact their career path, safety, and success in the maritime sector.

The Foundation of MARINA

MARINA was established on June 1, 1974, via Presidential Decree No. 474, known as the Maritime Industry Decree of 1974.

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Credits: Marina / Facebook
  • This marked a significant shift from a fragmented system overseen by various government agencies to a centralized authority dedicated to the maritime sector’s development and regulation.
  • This change was pivotal for the Philippines, a nation inherently connected to the sea for trade, transportation, and economic growth.

MARINA was founded with clear objectives aimed at transforming and unifying the maritime industry.

These goals included integrating and coordinating the maritime sector’s policies and programs, promoting its development as a key economic player, ensuring the safety and efficiency of maritime operations, enhancing the standards of maritime education and training, and fostering marine research and technology advancement.

Over the years, MARINA has evolved, expanding its regulatory powers and responsibilities.

It became part of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in 1979 for better policy and program coordination.

Notably, it assumed crucial quasi-judicial functions in 1985 and in 2002, it was recognized as an attached agency of the Department of Transportation.

By 2020, MARINA had become the implementing agency for international conventions focused on training and certification standards for seafarers, marking its significant role in the global maritime community.

Mission and Vision of MARINA

Mission: MARINA’s mission is to cultivate a world-class, safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable maritime industry. This mission reflects its commitment to promoting the maritime sector’s growth while ensuring the safety of its operations and the protection of the environment. It’s a pledge to uphold and elevate the standards of the maritime community, contributing significantly to national development and global trade.

Vision: With a vision to be recognized as a global maritime authority, MARINA sets its sights on leading a progressive, competitive, and innovative maritime industry. This vision is a testament to its ambition and commitment to excellence, striving not only to meet international standards but to set them, positioning the Philippine maritime industry as a model of success and innovation.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

Regulation of Maritime Activities

MARINA stands at the helm of regulating maritime training, certification, and manning within the Philippines, playing a crucial role in upholding the standards and competence of the maritime workforce.


  • Training and Certification: Through its STCW Administration Office, MARINA regulates the training and certification of Filipino seafarers. This rigorous oversight ensures adherence to international Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The result is a cadre of Filipino seafarers with internationally recognized certificates of competency, reflecting their preparedness and qualification for the demands of global maritime operations.
  • Manning: The authority regulates the manning of Philippine-flagged vessels, ensuring they are adequately staffed with qualified personnel. By setting minimum manning requirements, approving crewing agencies, and licensing seafarers, MARINA guarantees that the ships not only meet but often exceed global maritime standards.
  • Maritime Education and Training: MARINA also oversees the development and implementation of maritime education and training programs in the Philippines. This involves establishing curriculum standards, accrediting training institutions, and monitoring the quality of maritime education, ensuring a continuous supply of well-trained professionals to the industry.

Safety and Environmental Policies

MARINA’s commitment extends beyond manpower to encompass the broader aspects of marine safety and environmental protection.


  • Marine Safety: The authority enforces stringent safety regulations covering all maritime activities in Philippine waters. From ship construction to operation and maintenance, these regulations aim to prevent accidents, minimize casualties, and protect the marine environment, ensuring that maritime activities are conducted safely and responsibly.
  • Maritime Security: MARINA also contributes to maritime security by implementing international regulations and collaborating with other agencies. This collective effort helps combat piracy, terrorism, and other maritime threats, creating a safer environment for seafarers and trade.
  • Environmental Protection: Protecting the marine environment is another cornerstone of MARINA’s mandate. Through regulations on pollution prevention, waste disposal, and ballast water management, MARINA promotes sustainable practices that safeguard the marine ecosystem from the adverse effects of maritime operations.

Ship Registration and Licensing

The registration and licensing of ships are critical for legal and operational legitimacy, areas where MARINA’s role is indispensable.

  • Ship Registration: By registering all Philippine-flagged vessels, MARINA ensures they operate legally within Philippine waters and internationally. This registration process is vital for compliance with international tonnage measurement standards and provides legal recognition for the vessel and its ownership.
  • Ship Licensing: MARINA issues licenses to vessels based on their type, size, and intended use. This crucial process ensures that all vessels meet the stringent requirements for safety and environmental regulations and verifies their seaworthiness for the tasks they are designated to undertake.


The Importance of MARINA’s Roles

The roles and responsibilities of MARINA are foundational to the maritime sector’s safety, security, and efficiency. Ensuring safe and secure maritime operations protects human life, the marine environment, and supports the Philippine economy.

Compliance with international regulations enables Philippine-flagged vessels to operate and compete effectively on a global scale. Moreover, by advocating for the welfare of Filipino seafarers, MARINA ensures a robust, skilled, and contented workforce, vital for the nation’s continued prominence in the maritime industry.


MARINA’s Services and Initiatives

MARINA has established a comprehensive framework for the training and certification of maritime professionals, ensuring that they are well-equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the global maritime arena. Here’s a closer look at the programs offered:

  1. Basic Training Programs:
    • Deck Department: Courses like Navigation, Marine Engineering, Radio Electronics, Radar/GMDSS, and more prepare individuals for a range of responsibilities at sea.
    • Engine Department: Training for roles such as Marine Mechanic, Electrician, Refrigeration Mechanic, and more, focusing on the technical aspects of maritime operations.
    • Catering Department: Specialized training for positions including Cook, Baker, Steward, and more, crucial for maintaining crew well-being on long voyages.
    • Additional Courses: Complementary training in First Aid, Safety at Sea, Fire-fighting, and more, essential for ensuring safety and compliance with international maritime standards.
  2. Advanced Training Programs:
    • Master Mariner and Chief Engineer Programs: Designed to enhance leadership and technical skills, these programs are vital for those aspiring to command vessels.
    • Specialized Training: Courses like Offshore Petroleum Installation Operations, GMDSS Maintenance Technician, Cargo Handling Supervisor, and others cater to specific industry needs.
  3. Certification:
    • Seafarers’ Certificates of Competency: Issued to individuals who meet rigorous training requirements and pass comprehensive competency assessments.
    • Officers’ Certificates of Proficiency: Essential for maritime professionals aspiring to assume higher-level positions on ships.
    • Other Maritime Personnel Certificates: Covering a range of shore-based and specialized maritime roles, ensuring a well-rounded maritime workforce.

Modernization Efforts

MARINA’s dedication to modernization is evident in its strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the maritime industry’s efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability:

  1. Digitalization: Implementation of e-government systems allows for streamlined online applications, permit processing, and efficient maritime information exchange.
  2. Infrastructure Development: Upgrading ports, waterways, and maritime training facilities to meet international standards and accommodate growing industry demands.
  3. Technology Adoption: Promoting advanced technologies like navigational aids, electronic charts, and intelligent shipping systems to improve safety and efficiency.
  4. International Partnerships: Collaborating with global entities to share best practices, enhance maritime safety and security, and foster international cooperation.
  5. Environmental Initiatives: Advocating for sustainable practices such as clean shipping technologies and stringent marine pollution control measures.

Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028

Underpinning MARINA’s initiatives is the Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028, a visionary roadmap aiming to transform the Philippines into a premier maritime nation. Key objectives include:

  • Developing a globally competitive maritime workforce equipped with cutting-edge skills and knowledge.
  • Modernizing maritime infrastructure and embracing technology to foster a more efficient and safer maritime environment.
  • Promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly maritime practices to ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems.
  • Strengthening maritime safety and security protocols to protect seafarers and marine assets.
  • Expanding maritime trade and services, positioning the Philippines as a key player in the global maritime industry.

Through its comprehensive training programs, modernization efforts, and the ambitious Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028, MARINA is steadfast in its commitment to advancing the Philippines’ maritime industry, prioritizing a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and sustainable practices to navigate the future successfully.

MIDP 2028 Core Programs

Modernization and Expansion of Domestic Shipping

A transformative initiative aimed at revitalizing the domestic shipping sector, including Tourist Destination Areas and Coastal Inland Waterways. This program focuses on modernizing the fleet, ensuring safety, and improving trade efficiency to stimulate local economies and enhance inter-island connectivity.


Promotion and Expansion of the Overseas Shipping Industry

Dedicated to bolstering the Philippine ship registry, this program seeks to expand the nation’s merchant fleet, reduce foreign dependency, and create numerous employment opportunities. It’s a strategic move to elevate the Philippines’ presence in the global maritime trade and strengthen its sea transport capabilities.


Modernization, Expansion, and Promotion of the Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Industry

Targeting the advancement of the shipbuilding and repair sector, this program aims to meet the rising demand for modern vessels and position the Philippines as a leading shipbuilder. By boosting domestic production and attracting foreign investment, it seeks to enhance economic growth and global competitiveness.


Promotion of a Highly Skilled and Competitive Maritime Workforce

Focusing on human capital, this program is committed to developing a highly-skilled, knowledgeable, and globally competitive maritime workforce. Through quality training and continuous professional development, it aims to maintain excellence in maritime practices and contribute to the industry’s robust and reliable global standing.


Video: FEATURE STORY #3: True Stories of Filipino Seafarers

During the #NationalMaritimeWeek2020 Celebration, MARINA highlighted the personal narratives of Filipino Seafarers, showcasing their experiences and the emotional journey of life at sea. Among the featured stories was that of Ero Ancheta, an Oiler who shared a day from his life on the ocean. Having completed his Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarEng) at the Technological Institute of the Philippines in Manila, Ancheta’s story provided an intimate glimpse into the joys and challenges faced by seafarers, emphasizing their sacrifices and dedication while being away from loved ones.

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