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Odfjell attends Signatory Ceremony and Hosts Philippine Embassy Delegation

Odfjell had the honor of participating in an event hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Oslo in mid-May: the signatory ceremony for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA). This agreement recognizes Philippine-issued certificates to seafarers and highlights the critical role Filipino seafarers play in the Norwegian maritime community. Prior to the ceremony, Odfjell welcomed a visit from the Philippine Embassy at our headquarters.

A Milestone for Filipino Seafarers

Approximately 25,000 Filipino seafarers are employed by Norwegian shipping companies at any given time, underscoring their significance in the industry. Within Odfjell, Filipino seafarers account for over 80% of our crew pool.

“This MOA is a testament to the invaluable contributions of Filipino seafarers, who are an integral part of Odfjell’s operations and the wider Norwegian maritime industry,” stated CTO Torger Trige.

The Philippine Embassy in Oslo hosted the ceremony on May 13, 2024, where the MOA was signed by MARINA Administrator Sonia B. Malaluan and NMA Acting Director General Alf Tore Sørheim.

Odfjell’s strengthened ties to the Philippine Embassy

The groundwork for the event was laid in late April at the Annual Luncheon for resident Heads of Diplomatic Missions, hosted by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association. During this luncheon, Torger had the honor of being seated next to H.E. Enrico Trinidad Fos, the Ambassador from the Philippines to Norway. During their conversation, Ambassador Fos invited him to attend the signatory ceremony for the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Ambassador Fos also mentioned plans for a trip to the western parts of Norway:

“When Ambassador Fos mentioned plans for a trip to the western part of Norway, I took the opportunity to invite him and his colleagues for an informal visit the Odfjell headquarters at Minde,” Torger said.

In the period leading up to the visit, Svend Foyn-Bruun, VP Maritime Personell, and Agnes Enesio, General Manager of OiP, made a courtesy visit to the Philippine Embassy in Oslo to introduce themselves and share information about our activities in the Philippines.

“While Odfjell teed up the meeting with the official Philippine representatives, we also found it natural to share this opportunity with some selected Bergen-based companies having significant pools of Filipino seafarers,” Torger said.

“Grieg Maritime, Utkilen and Stødig Ship Management were therefore represented in the meeting.” Odfjell lined up with Senior Marine Superintendent Cedric Caguioa and Demurrage Analyst Melrouse Larsen in addition to Svend Foyn-Bruun and Torger Trige.

Over a late lunch, there were positive and engaging exchanges between the six officials from the Philippines and the attending maritime professionals. The discussions covered topics such as future recruitment, training needs, increased gender diversity onboard and what Norway and the Philippines jointly can achieve in terms of positive development of our long-lasting ties in the maritime industry. The visit concluded with a quick office tour, an ice cream break, and of course a photo session.

“A very pleasant meeting and a good day for connecting and creating friends within the Philippine officials here in Norway,” Torger said.

Embassy's Closing Remarks

The Philippine Embassy expressed their gratitude to Odfjell for hosting the meeting and facilitating such a fruitful exchange. They highlighted the commitment of Norwegian shipowners to providing improved benefits for Filipino seafarers, such as longer paid maternity and paternity leave, and enhanced compensation packages for better retention.

“Thank you to Mr. Torger Trige for organizing the meeting and Odfjell for hosting the Embassy at its headquarters in Bergen,” the Philippine Embassy shared.

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