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First Batch of Scholars Passes Board Exam With Flying Colors

All twenty two B.S. Marine Engineering graduates from the first batch of the Southfield Maritime Scholarship program passed the PRC STCW Operational license examinations. Four graduates took the exams in September 2011 and another eighteen graduates in January 2012.

In the September 2011 examinations, graduate scholar Rodolfo P. Mariscotes Jr. finished 4th nationwide with a score of 92.5%, while in the January 2012 exams, graduate scholars Obet A. Macalalad and Marlon V. Manalo, both ranked 8th nationwide with an identical score of 86.25%. Below is a comparison of results by university among the graduates who took the PRC exams.
2011 September OIC – Engineering Exam Comparative Performance of Schools
Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation 4 0 0 100.00%
Philippine Merchant Marine Academy 50 1 0 98.04%
Asian Institute for Maritime Studies 10 1 1 83.33%
Technological Institute of the Philippines – Manila 14 1 2 82.35%
Eastern Visayas State University 10 3 0 76.92%
Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific 17 2 6 68.00%
Philippine Maritime Institute – Quezon City 25 15 0 65.12%
John B. Lacson College Foundation – Iloilo 10 6 2 55.56%
Misamis Institute of Technology 6 4 3 46.15%
University of Cebu 1 6 1 12.50%
2012 January OIC – Engineering Exam Comparative Performance of Schools
Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation 18 0 0 100.00%
Misamis Institute of Technology 10 1 0 90.91%
Philippine Merchant Marine Academy 17 3 0 85.00%
Palompon Institute of Technology 21 3 1 84.00%
Asian Institute for Maritime Studies 19 4 0 82.61%
Technological Institute of the Philippines – Manila 19 7 1 70.37%
University of Cebu 14 8 0 63.64%
Philippine Maritime Institute – Quezon City 27 19 0 58.70%
John B. Lacson College Foundation – Iloilo 18 13 0 58.06%

NOTE: School ranking is based on passing rate and number of takers during the September 2011 and January 2012 board exam for junior marine engineers.

Graduates of the first batch of BS Marine Transportation scholars shall be taking their examinations starting this month.

Now in its 5th year, the Southfield Scholarship Program awards an average of 35 scholarships annually from a pool of 600 pre-qualified high school graduates from poor families. The scholarship program is co-managed by Southfield with its partner university, the Manuel S. Enverga University Institute of Maritime Studies. Southfield monitors the academic progress of each scholar thru on-campus mentors and provides additional training and education over and above the minimum requirement. Every summer, the graduates spend their time in Manila at the Southfield Maritime Training Foundation.

The ratio of engine to deck scholarships is 3:1 and as far as practicable, the students spend their first two years in school, then 12 months at sea on Southfield’s manned fleet, and then back to school for its final year prior to graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation (for deck) or Marine Engineering. All scholars are guaranteed the required shipboard training and upon their graduation are absorbed into Southfield’s pool of professional seafarers.

Since 2008, the scholars have consistently performed very well in the nationwide Maritime School Assessment Program or MSAP exams conducted by the Joint Manning Group to all 2nd year maritime students. The objective of the exams is to identify the top students across the country by the manning industry in ensuring a steady and growing pool of potential officers and engineers of the future.

The scholars’ parents are vital partners of Southfield in the program, and values of social responsibility and giving back to the community are cultivated.

The Scholars


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CMA CGM Africa Four Formally Named

On Friday the 15th of November CMA CGM Africa Four was formally named and delivered by the HHIC Yard in Subic, Philippines.

The Africa Four is the last of a series of four geared “Africa Max” container vessels owned by Chartworld Shipping Corporation and bare boat chartered to container operators CMA GCM of Marseilles France. She will be employed on the China/ Africa route to which she is uniquely suited.

The main particulars of the Africa Four are a length over all of 228 meters, a beam of 19.3 meters and a draft of 12 meters. She has a container capacity of 3,718 TEU, and her 31,640 KW Wartsila &RT Flex engine will propel her at a service speed of 22 knots.

In charge of operating this beautiful new vessel are a crew of Ukrainian Senior Officers with Filipino Junior officers and ratings from Southfield Agencies. Africa Four is the 15th container vessel in Southfield’s CMA CGM pool. The pool is expected to grow to 25 vessels by the end of 2011.

Africa Four's crew posed for a picture


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SAGA Holds Officer's Conference

SAGA Forrest Carriers in association with Patt Manfield and Southfield Agencies, Inc. held its first Officer's Conference at the Bayview Park Hotel on March 12-13, 2009.

The Conference focused on various topics and concerns in the maritime industry, insurance claims, promotions, and the cadetship program.

Speakers were :

  • Eivind Holte - Owner's Representative, Saga Shipholding (Norway) AS
  • Mr. Trond Bårdsen - Senior V.P. Operations & Q.A., Saga Forest Carriers Int'l AS
  • Mr. Man Tak Yung - Gen. Manager, Patt Manfield & Co., Ltd., Hong Kong
  • Norman Leung - Asst. GM, Patt Manfield & Co., Ltd., Hong Kong
  • Peter Smith - Technical Superintendent
  • Kristoffer Kohmann - Skuld
  • Capt. Andrew Maltass - President, Pandiman Philippines
  • Tony Chiok - Representative, Jotun Paints
  • Mr. Raymond Portillo - Fleet Manager, Southfield Agencies, Inc.
  • Ms. Lay Lanie Chua - President, Ship Business Software, Inc.

The Filipino Saga officers were receptive and participated in the open forum discussions.

To quote one participant, he said, "This is only the first conference and I see room for improvement but to sum it all up, topics are relevant, speakers are good, visual presentations are clear and discussions were motivating and a good source of exchange of knowledge. Hope this will be a yearly activity as it is beneficial for everyone in the industry."

Mr. Reuben Romero commented, "The conference was an important step towards fostering a close personal relationship between the ship owners, managers, manning agent, and especially the crew. Hopefully we can build on this and see a fleet wide improvement. Thanks go to our guests from abroad, but especially to the officers who showed their commitment and dedication to their jobs."

MT Yung giving a presentation regarding
Circulars and Notices

Participants and other presentors listen to the speaker
Eivind Holte - Owner's Representative,
Saga Shipholding (Norway) AS

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In Retrospect
  By: Ch. Engr. Rodolfo B. Virtudazo
  Outstanding Seafarer of the Year, NSD, 1998
  Most Outstanding Marine Engineer Officer, PRC, 1999
  Training Manager, Southfield Maritime Training Foundation, Inc.


Looking at the horizon of Manila Bay from the windowpane of our office brings back memories of my 10 years of dedicated sea service as a chief engineer. I always find it amusing to reminisce about those early days when the ISM code was initially introduced to the shipping world. Its early stages of implementation life aboard seemed frenetic then; nevertheless, we normally find ample time to unwind.

I had one experience which keeps haunting me up to now. It all began when out of the blue, the head office decided to deploy me for the first time on a non-Filipino manned vessel.

The first day I came on board, I noticed at once the tell-tale signs of neglect. The unattended heavy leakage of the drinking fountain. The dirty engine room which seemingly had been robbed of the luxury of a refreshing bath for centuries. As if it were not enough, the main engine itself had a technical problem that had remained unsolved since the Company's take over from her previous owners.

Prior to my assignment as chief engineer, I had heard a lot of negative feedbacks about her West African crew. Not a few colleagues warned that these particular crewmembers were lazy and stubborn. They also claimed that they would never yield anything except under extreme duress.

So one could just imagine how a cool and collected countenance turned into a blanched face in "horror" after having been informed that I would be joining the vessel at Subic Shipyard. Suddenly, a phantasmagoria of doubt overwhelmed me. To be or not to be? It was as if accepting the job would be a pernicious act against the hard-earned glory of my 30-year seagoing career, in which 15 years of loyal service has been under a Norwegian company.

Armed with sang-froid and the belief that men can work harmoniously regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and culture, the die was cast. I took over the responsibility as chief engineer barely two days before the vessel sailed from the dockyard.

I never thought that it would be the start of a challenging yet rich and wonderful experience that is impressed indelibly upon my mind.

The ship had a full complement of West African officers and crew - from Master down to the rank and file - except the first engineer, electrician and fitter who were all Indians: I was the lone Filipino.

Immediately, I found out that the vessel had a lot of non-conformities. First, it was imperative to run two auxiliary engines at all times (even when the vessel was at sea) owing to abnormally high exhaust temperatures and incessant surging of turbochargers. Second, the computer-based planned maintenance system and spare parts program were not updated, to mention a few.

Facing the ordeal and my supposedly recalcitrant engineers and ratings, I saw to it that a dialogue took place. At the outset of the forum, I highlighted the point that everybody was important. Nobody could run the ship alone. I instilled in them that with good planning and concerted effort, we could surmount all our technical quagmires with effort efficiency.

To make the long story short, despite the enormous task to rectify the deficiencies on board, we were able to rise above our problems. I was able to gain their full cooperation and respect.

In a span of four months, we had not only made the ailing auxiliary engines perform like newly-built engines but we also rejuvenated the appearance and beautified the once ugly and dirty engine room.

The second assistant engineer, who was a graduate of a reputable and lone maritime school in the whole French speaking West Africa, was excellent. On the other hand, although the engine ratings were handicapped technical-wise, they were hardworking and willing to learn.

Indeed shipboard management can be effective if applied with the time-tested golden rule: Do unto others what you would like others to do unto you. A good shipboard manager brings out the best from his men. He is like a prophet in the Old Testament who starts with himself-by being a role model. Life is not easy on board, but with GOD' grace, nothing is impossible.

It is no serendipity therefore that a convergence of different culture and tradition can be converted into a powerful energy that can move even the would-be scrapped vessels.

As one spiritual director puts it, "Unfurl your sail and let the Holy Spirit blow where It wills."

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Southfield Maritime Training Foundation Inaugurates Its New Engine Room Simulator From Kongsberg Maritime A/S

A simple ceremony was held last March 29, 2006 for the inauguration of SMTFI's Engine Room Simulator consisting of eight student stations and one instructor station. Capt. David John, Deputy CEO of Graig Ship Management, was guest of honor.

The facility was partially funded by a grant obtained from the International Maritime Training Trust which manages the ITF TCCC Training Levy.

This grant would not have been possible without the assistance of Graig Ship Management who are long time contributors to the fund. In his remarks Captain David John congratulated Southfield on the opening of the Engine Room Simulator, and mentioned that training given to engineers using this facility will benefit not only Southfield 's crew, but also " The ships on which they serve, and the Ship Owners who employ them." Southfield's Kongsberg Simulator is designed to meet the demands for basic operational training of junior engineers, fault studies by senior engineers and economy and optimizing studies by chief engineers. It has a built-in evaluation system that assists in making structural and objective student assessment.

The instructor station includes facilities for scenario building, debriefing, evaluation, and replay, audio visual recording, large screen projectors and on-line evaluation of student performance. All these functions will help Southfield to further develop it's pool of superior Management Level Engineers.

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Mr. Reuben Romero and Capt. David John

The new ERS has 8 workstations

Agency Performance Awards Nine years after it was founded, Southfield is recognized by P.O.E.A as Top Performer in the Philippine Manning Industry in 2002. The award is given every three years and for the second consecutive time, Southfield was again awarded as POEA Top Performer in 2005

The Philippine government, through the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, gives honor to outstanding Philippine private recruitment companies through the POEA Agency Performance Awards.

The awards, the Top Performer Award and the Excellence Award, are given to deserving recruitment and manning agencies in recognition of their exemplary performance in promoting decent and quality overseas employment for Filipinos as well as its pioneering achievement, industry leadership, and entrepreneurial initiatives.

The Award of Excellence is given to agencies which have been conferred Top Performer Awards for three times and with two or less adversely decided cases of recruitment violation within the evaluation period. The criteria for selection are compliance with recruitment rules and regulations, deployment, technical capability, responsiveness to workers' welfare onsite, welfare programs and allied services, industry leadership, foreign exchange earnings and remittances, and social awareness and responsibility.

The Top Performer Award is given to agencies that is in active operation since July 2002 and with not more than two adversely decided cases of recruitment violation within the evaluation period. The criteria include compliance with recruitment rules and regulations, deployment, technical capability, responsiveness to workers' welfare on site, and marketing capability.

Special citations are also given to some of the agencies for their particular achievements in the areas of deployment, foreign exchange generation, marketing, welfare programs and services, technical capability, and sustained efforts in the use of the electronic submission system or the e-Submission.

Started in 1984, the institutionalization of the POEA's awards and incentives program pushed the overseas employment stakeholders to strive for excellence in their fields.

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SMTFI opened its Marine Engineering Annex

Southfield Maritime Training Foundation, Inc., celebrated the inauguration of its Marine Engineering Annex on 18 February 2005.

The training annex, built with the assistance of  Hyundai Merchant Marine, includes state-of-the art equipment from Lab Volt, USA, consisting of an Electro-Mechanical Trainer, and Process Control, Pneumatics, Hydraulics and Refrigeration Trainers.  The annex also has marine engineering CBT workstations and an online computer laboratory.

"This annex will definitely help our seamen compete" commented the Managing Director of Southfield, Reuben Romero. "The increasing sophistication of ship board equipment and control systems requires highly qualified engineers. World class maritime training equipment will maintain the high standard expected in modern ships. In the long run this will benefit all the stakeholders in this industry: Agents, their Principals, and above all Filipino Marine Engineers."

The Southfield Maritime Foundation Inc. was established in 2002 with the vision to provide the highest quality training for Filipino seafarers.  Courses offered include: Ship Simulator & Bridge Teamwork, Engine Room Simulation,  Maritime Resource Management, Ship Security Courses, and the Lab Volt Engineering Courses.

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Hyundai Merhant Marine's Executive Vice President Shin Yong Ho at the registration booth
Mr. Arben Santos, President of Southfield Agencies, presenting the plaque of appreciation given to HMM EVP Shin Yong Ho

Southfield Maritime Training Foundation, an Introduction
May 16, 2002

  By: Owen Stull

  Owner's Representative/ Director SMTFI


Good afternoon and a warm welcome to our partners, principals, and distinguished guests.

The last decade has seen many developments which challenge the Philippine manning industry. Wage scales have approached international levels, pushed on by the efforts of international unions. Global standards of training and marine practice have been adopted. Developments in automation combined with economic pressure have reduced crew size to the point where there are no spare hands on modern ships. In this competitive environment the demands on Filipino seamen have increased. Seamen are now expected to function as part of a total management system, to document their actions, and communicate efficiently with head office. Basic seamanship, though still very important, is not enough for today's ship manager. New skills are required, and with them a new approach to training.

The Maritime Training Foundation we are inaugurating today is Southfield's answer to an increasingly competitive international crewing market. Our goal is the development of world class officers and crew. We recognize, however, that this a long term project which requires sustained effort from the manning company, the ship manager, and the seaman himself.

Our Cadet Program begins this process by carefully selecting candidates from the Philippines large pool of Maritime University Graduates. We interview and test about 1,500 annually, and accept only the top 3%. Successful applicants follow a program modeled on the I.M.O. course for Deck and Engine Cadets, which includes both shore and ship-based training. Progress is recorded in training record books, and monitored by the Training Foundation staff. We have graduated 45 cadets, and there are another 45 are currently enrolled. All our graduates have passed their officers board exams on the first attempt, and gone on to serve with distinction on our Principal's vessels.

Once they are on board, Southfield crew continue to be supported by a curriculum designed to compliment their practical experience, and to encourage them to progress through the ranks. The Foundation offers two, week long simulator courses, both of which are accredited by the Maritime Training Council: Ship Simulator and Bridge Teamwork with B.R.M. Principals, and Engine Room Simulator with E.R.M. Principals. Both these courses follow I.M.O. models, and use the simulation equipment that will be introduced later this afternoon.

We also offer courses over and above S.T.C.W. requirements, including the S.A.S. Flight Academy Bridge Resources Management Course, licensed and accredited by the Swedish Club, as well as a program of refresher courses for Deck and Engine Departments.

The S.A.S. B.R.M. course was developed by a group of seven major stakeholders in the maritime business to improve safety training. It is based on case studies, which show that most marine accidents, 71% according to Dett Norske Veritas, are the result of management errors, not a lack of skill. The course improves the understanding of how to manage human and technical resources in an operational environment. Participants learn how to identify common management errors, and to avoid them. At Southfield we believe B.R.M training makes an important contribution to safe practice on board our principal's ships, this is why we made B.R.M. mandatory for all newly hired or promoted officers.

The last element of our training curriculum is what we call our Refresher Courses. As the name implies, these courses are designed to review basic knowledge required on board. Since Refresher Courses cover a wide range of subject matter we rely on computer based training to supplement the usual lecture format. Our Training Foundation now has more than 30 specialized modules for the Deck and Engine Departments. Each of these is an interactive course introducing a topic, or piece of machinery, such as Hull Surveys, or Lube Oil Purifiers. The course begins with a graphic description, analyses operating principles, and then includes a final review and examination.

Directed by our dedicated and professional staff, the Southfield Maritime Training Foundation, offers quality instruction and evaluation covering a wide range of maritime subjects. We try to blend theory and practice to actively engage our seamen in the vital project of improving their knowledge. This, gentlemen, is Southfield's response to the challenges of a global shipping environment. It is also our contribution to maintaining the competitive edge of Filipino seafarers, and of the ship owners who employ them.

Thank you very much.

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