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Philippine mariners: Many maritime schools should be closed

Nelson Ramirez, union head for 44,000 Philippine mariners, believes that 64 of the country's current 94 schools will have to close, and he believes that a solution can be found, he tells ShippingWatch.

MANILA: If at long last the Philippine maritime schools end up undergoing a thorough cleansing process, one could say the event would mark the end of an 18 year battle for union boss Nelson Ramirez.

When Ramirez, who is now 64 years old, started the UFS, United Filippino Seafarers, on his own initiative 18 years ago, it happened in protest against the Philippine maritime authorities, MARINA, as he felt it wasn't taking the many accidents and deaths at sea seriously. Specifically, the necessary papers to guarantee the mariners' safety weren't issued, which made Nelson Ramirez round up 8-10 mariners to establish what has now become one of the most important professional unions for mariners and officers in the Philippines.

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