OWWA Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP)

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) is a strategic initiative designed to bolster the competencies of Filipino seafarers. By offering financial aid of up to PHP 7,500 per course, the SUP aims to ensure that Filipino maritime professionals remain competitive in the global arena. This is tailored to support sea-based OFWs in enhancing their skills and knowledge in line with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) competency standards, thus promoting career advancement and ensuring compliance with international maritime safety norms.

Targeted at seafarer OFW members of OWWA, it caters to those who aspire to upgrade their technical skills through short-term training in accredited maritime training centers or institutions. Eligibility hinges on being a Filipino citizen with an active membership, alongside meeting the course-specific requirements. Participants can expect to gain financial assistance for a variety of maritime courses, empowerment to meet and exceed global competency standards, and enhanced employability in the maritime industry. With a simple application process and the backing of the “Amended Overseas Workers Welfare Act,” the SUP underscores OWWA’s commitment to the professional development and welfare of Filipino seafarers.

Credits: Owwa Rwo XI Davao / Facebook

What is the OWWA Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP)?

The SUP is a short-term training initiative that grants a financial aid of up to PHP 7,500 per course for sea-based OFWs. This is aimed at enhancing their skills in accordance with the competency standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It’s an opportunity for sea-based OFWs to stay competitive and advance their careers by upgrading their knowledge and technical skills in accredited maritime training centers/institutions.

Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP)

Significance of the Program

The Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) is crucial for sea-based Filipino workers’ competitiveness. As the leading providers of seafarers globally, Filipinos must continuously upgrade their skills due to technological advancements and meeting international standards set by the IMO. SUP provides financial assistance (up to Php 7,500) for various skill-upgrading courses like firefighting and medical emergencies. Over 120,000 sea-based OFWs have benefited since its inception, showcasing its significant impact. Overall, SUP enhances Filipino seafarers’ competitiveness, ensures maritime safety, and supports their overall well-being, contributing to a stronger Philippine presence in the global maritime industry.

Legal Basis 

The legal basis for the Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) stems from the Republic Act No. 10022, also known as the “Amended Overseas Workers Welfare Act”. This act establishes the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and mandates its functions and programs in supporting the welfare and development of Filipino overseas workers, including seafarers.

Specifically, Section 5(h) of the Act empowers OWWA to:

Promote and develop programs and projects geared towards the upgrading of skills and competence of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to make them more competitive in the international labor market;”

Therefore, the “Amended Overseas Workers Welfare Act” serves as the primary legal foundation for the existence and operation of the OWWA Seafarers Upgrading Program, authorizing them to offer skill development initiatives for Filipino sea-based workers and contribute to their overall professional success.


The program is grounded on the commitment of the administration to support the welfare and development of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), including sea-based OFWs. By providing financial assistance for training courses, the SUP ensures that Filipino sea-based workers can access essential education without the burden of excessive costs.

Benefits include:

  • Financial assistance (Php 7,500) for a wide array of maritime courses.
  • Empowerment to meet and exceed global competency standards.
  • Enhanced employability and career advancement opportunities in the maritime industry.

Eligibility and Qualifications

The SUP is exclusive to seafarer OFW members. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a Filipino citizen.
  • Have active OWWA membership at the time of application.
  • Meet the specific requirements set by the training course they wish to enroll in.


Applicants need to prepare the following documents:

  • Duly accomplished application form available at OWWA Regional Welfare Offices (RWO).
  • Two 2×2 colored ID photos.
  • Seaman’s Identification Record Book (SIRB) and/or original passport.
  • Membership record from OWWA RWO.

Step-by-Step Guide to Avail the SUP

  1. Visit the OWWA RWO: Go to the office that covers your permanent address.
  2. Get a Queue Number: Upon arrival, obtain a queuing number for the EDSP scholarship application.
  3. Verification: Present a valid ID or passport for membership record verification.
  4. Submit Requirements: If your membership is valid, submit the filled-out application form along with the necessary documents.
  5. Notice of Award (NOA): Receive your schedule for claiming the NOA.
  6. Claiming the NOA: Return on the scheduled date, get a priority number, and wait for your number to be called to receive the NOA.
  7. Enroll in Your Course: Proceed to the designated SUP desk/counter to obtain the NOA and enroll in your chosen course.

Success Stories / Recent Updates

Kilalanin ang ScholarSHiP ng OWWA para sa Seafarers

The Seafarer Upgrading Program (SUP) is a short-term training offered by the OWWA to active OFW members. With a maximum cost of Php 7,500.00 per course, sea-based OFWs can enhance their skills and meet the competency standards set by the International Maritime Organization. To avail, seafarers need to present their ID or passport for verification, submit the application form and requirements, and claim the Notice of Award (NOA) from the Education and Training Unit. Required documents include the application form, 2×2 colored ID photos, Seaman’s Identification Record Book (SIRB), and/or original passport, and OWWA Membership Record.

240 Seafarers in Davao Region Upgrade Skills with OWWA’s Seafarers Upgrading Program

In the first semester of 2022, around 240 sea-based OFWs in Davao Region took advantage of the Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. The aims to provide job-related training to enhance the knowledge and skills of Filipino sea-based workers in line with technological advancements and global maritime standards. With financial assistance of up to Php7,500.00, seafarers can choose from a variety of courses to upgrade their expertise.



Discover the details of the OWWA Seafarers Upgrading Program, which offers a cash grant of PHP 7,500. This provides free training financial assistance to sea-based OFWs, allowing them to upgrade their skills and knowledge. Learn about the available courses, qualifications, requirements, and how to apply for this program in this informative video.



The Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) is a testament to the organization’s commitment to the welfare and development of Filipino sea-based workers. By facilitating access to training and development opportunities, it ensures that the Philippines continues to produce world-class sea-based OFWs equipped with the latest maritime skills and knowledge. If you’re a seafarer looking to navigate the vast opportunities of the maritime industry, the SUP is your stepping stone towards a brighter and more secure future. For more information, visit OWWA’s official website or contact their offices nationwide. Embark on your journey to success and let the SUP guide you towards achieving your maritime career goals.

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