For my fellow Filipinos who are desperate and very eager to land a job in an international passenger or cruise ship. I’ll be giving some guidelines and tips that will surely make applicants qualified to apply even if they’re high school graduate or college undergraduate. Also, I’ll be giving guidelines on how not to be financially abused by some abusive manning agencies who more often than not take advantage on our poor kababayans whose only aim is to secure a Greener Pasteur for his/her family.

Before I start, I just want to refute a statement that “Working onboard a Cruise Ship is just for College Graduates” and that high school graduates don’t have any chance at all. This statement is totally FALSE.

For all those who want, wishing, desiring to work on-board international vessels e.g. Passenger and cruise ships, tanker, cargo and bulk ships the first major requirement is SIRB (Seafarer’s Identification Record Book) or simply called as Seaman’s book. Para makakuha kayo ng SIRB you need to undergo a SOLAS Training (Safety Of Life At Sea) or also known as BST with PSSR training (Basic Safety Training with Personal Safety and Social Responsibility). Anyone who is mentally stable and physically fit can take this training. It’s a 7 days training 6 days classroom lecture and 1 day practicum sa dagat or swimming pool. Training fee is around 4 to 6K pesos. Once you have the BST w/ PSSR certificate, you can now apply for SIRB (Seaman’s book).

These are the requirements for SIRB application:

1. BST w/ PSSR certificate

2. NBI visa seaman

3. High school Diploma with Form 138 or College Diploma with TOR both documents kelangan ng CAV (Certification Authentication and Verification). For HS diploma sa DEPED kukuha ng CAV for College Diploma sa CHED.

4. Application form (libre ito at makukuha sa MARINA) – Marina is located in Taft Ave. near Kalaw

5. 2x2 picture with shoulder board

6. Fee: P850.00 to P1,500.00 (hindi ko na alam if how much na ang SIRB pero I’m sure not lower than 850 and not higher than 1,500)

Beware sa mga mag-ooffer ng non-appearance na certificate. I discouraged such activity. Very risk ito especially if ipapa authenticate na ang certificate.

Now you have an SIRB, you have completed 5% of your quest to work onboard an international vessel. Next step is checking job vacancies posted by a legitimate manning agency and assessing your qualifications (work experience, knowledge and skills etc.) against the job vacancies. I highly RECOMMEND and ADVISE all aspiring applicants to make yourself qualified first before applying. This will prevent you from incurring unwanted expenses like transportation expenses back and forth only to find out that you’re not qualified and were not selected. So make sure that you possess the right experience and trainings related to the position that you’re eyeing for.

If you’re applying for FO position, housekeeping, pool attendant or steward position, make sure you possess such working experience. Otherwise, your application will most likely be discarded. Unless you have an MBA (May Backer Ako) then that’s a different story. Very important to take note, almost all manning agency tend to give priority and select applicants (kahit undergard or highschool grad.) who has joined a vessel whether it was local or international route over applicants who have not boarded any vessel. Depending on the urgency of the job vacancy, some manning agency tend to consider applicants kahit na walang shipboard experience provided may SIRB,PASSPORT at related work experience and maritime training certificates (later we’ll talk about this training certificates). So how do you gain shipboard experience and make yourself shine over other applicants? Invest. If you are really serious in securing a work onboard a cruise ship, you need to invest to gain the necessary qualifications. If you’re undergrad or highschool graduate you need to invest in TESDA vocational maritime courses. It’s a 1 year course and at the end of the course students will be given a chance to work onboard a passenger ship as Front Office, Housekeeping crew, waiter, steward etc. This shipboard experience will be recorded in your SIRB and ALL manning agency considers it.

In my experience, we tend to hire applicants na may shipboard experience kahit highschool grad. or college undergrad against sa isang college graduate (pero wala naming shipboard experience) Reason behind this is that cruise ships enters US territories, so all crew must have a US Visa. US embassy tends to deny visa applications for seafarers na walang shipboard experience. Some agencies don’t want to take the risk, especially if the job vacancy is very urgent and the crew needs to be onboard asap. Thus, we normally choose applicants na may shipboard experience na atleast minimum 6 months regardless of your education. If the applicant’s visa application was denied after 6 months pa ulit sya pwedeng mag-apply. Sometimes there are some applicants na kahit walang shipboard experience, nakakalusot but very few. So you have the option, whether to take chances and trust your present qualifications or invest in short courses with shipboard training program increasing your chances of being hired. It’s up to you to decide. Tuition fee for this course is 12k to 15K per semester (2 semesters lang ito).

Now meron ka nang SIRB, Shipboard Experience you have completed 60% of your quest. Last thing that you will do is to take the minimum mandatory training certificates required by STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) this is the bible of Maritime Training Certificates. Dito nakasaad ano-ano ang mga required training ng isang crew for a specific vessel. Bawat barko na sasakyan ng isang crew may specific maritime training which dapat icomply. For all crew na sasakay sa cruise ship, more or less nasa mga 4 to 8 training certificates ang dapat i-take. Again, you have 2 options: 1. Invest and take these trainings as early as possible 2. Wait to be selected and saka i-take ang training. Both have advantage and disadvantage, option 1 will expedite your application and will definitely have an edge over other applicants na wala pang training. Also for urgent job vacancies ikaw ang no.1 priority for line-up dahil complete kana sa requirements.

Disadvantage lang is you have to spend na agad. Option 2 will save your money for the meantime, pwede mo pang magamit ang pera mo sa ibang bagay. Disadvantage is for urgent manpower requirements definitely you will not be selected. Be very cautious for some agencies which will require you to undergo numerous trainings. Some training is not really needed. Gusto lang nila magka commission at pagka kitaan ang applicant. So if you have completed this required trainings as early as possible then you achieved 85% of your quest. The remaining 15% is on how you carry yourself during the interview.

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