The Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP) is a special OWWA scholarship program that caters to active, returning, or first-time Filipino seafarers who are active members, in order to improve their skills and proficiency in the various technicalities and specialties consistent with international maritime standards.
This SUP program provides a monetary grant of up to PhP 7,500 per training course offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), or other OWWA-accredited training centers.
Do note that this SUP is a free program offered by OWWA and not a loan, so whether you are an active, returning or a first-time seafarer, be sure to make the most of your preparation by availing of this program.
Filipino seafarers account for more than a quarter of the world’s seafarer population, with over 450,000 contributing to the Philippine economy in 2019. However, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly slashed it to about 54%, with more than 230,000 Filipinos forced to go back home almost empty-handed.
Two years have passed, and many are still hopeful of going back to sea. Good thing the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has the Seafarer’s Upgrading Program to help them amp up their skills and competencies before they set out to sea again.
So if you’re a returning or first-time Filipino seafarer but you have been out of the loop for a while, or if you’ve been away from sea and now might be your time to try again, then this program is just right for you.
Qualified beneficiaries of the program are entitled to financial assistance ranging from PhP 1,200 up to PhP 7,500 per training course enrolled. Additional costs shall be shouldered by the applicant. However, in the case of applicants who had been referred to the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), the grant includes meal and transportation allowance.
To be eligible for the SUP, applicants must be:
- A Filipino citizen
- A registered OWWA member upon the time of application.
- First-time applicants are expected to have a single membership contribution upon application.
- Subsequent applications are accepted only every three (3) verified membership contributions, in which case applications must be filed within ninety (90) days of most recent arrival in the Philippines, whether on vacation or after contract period.
Eligible applicants must prepare the following documents upon application:
- Duly accomplished Application Form
- Official receipt of OWWA membership contribution, or any proof of active OWWA membership
- 2 copies of recent and identical 2×2 ID photo
- Seaman’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) and/or Original Passport
- Most recent proof of billing/residence.
How to Process OWWA SUP Scholarship for Seafarers
Upon securing the documentary requirements, applicants may proceed with the application process, as follows:
- Go to your designated OWWA Regional or Satellite Office to get a copy of the application form.
- Fill in all required information and attach all documentary requirements.
- Submit your application.
- Wait to be contacted by an authorized OWWA representative who will confirm your application.
- Upon approval of application, you will be given a Notice of Award (NOA) which you must claim within 45 days and present to the training center you intend to enroll in, for your free training to be confirmed.
- Applications for SUP are processed within two (2) days for NCR residents, and seven (7) days for non-NCR residents, in both cases given that all requirements are complete. Otherwise, they will not be processed.
- Applicants must be able to comply with and complete the requirements of the enrolled training program for the fee to be waived.
- The SUP only covers up to PhP 7,500 per training course. Additional costs from the intended training course shall be shouldered by the applicant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Please go over these FAQs so you can get a better idea what to expect from this OWWA SUP scholarship for seafarers.
1. Is the SUP available for only active seafarers?
No, the SUP benefits active, returning and first-time Filipino seafarers. If you intend to be a seaman or seawoman for the first time, you may still avail of this program as long as you have an active OWWA membership status upon application.
2. Where can I enroll in should I apply for SUP?
SUP grantees may enroll in any MARINA or TESDA-accredited training course offered by MARINA, TESDA, or any OWWA-accredited training center.
3. What courses can I enroll in for OWWA SUP?
The SUP covers a broad range of in-deck, engine, and specialized training courses in line with international maritime standards.
- In-deck courses:
- Cargo Handling and Care of Cargo
- Deck Watchkeeping (DWK)
- Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS)
- General Operator’s Course for Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GOC for GMDSS)
- Radar Navigation, Radar Plotting & ARPA Application (RNRPUA)
- Radar Simulator Course
- Radio Electronics Officer’s Course (REOC)
- Ship Simulator Bridge Teamwork (SSBT)
- Trim and Stability
- Engine courses:
- Auxiliary System
- Control Engineering
- Engine Room Simulator Course
- Engine Watchkeeping (EWK)
- Lathe Machine Course
- Marine Diesel Engineering
- Shipboard Welding and Lathe Machine
- Specialized courses:
- Advanced Training in Fire Fighting (ATFF)
- Advanced Training in Oil Tanker (ATOT)
- Advanced Training in Chemical Tanker (ATCT)
- Advance Training in Liquified Gas Tanker (ATLGT)
- Basic Training for Oil and Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations
- Basic Training for Liquified Gas Tanker Cargo Operation
- Crisis Management
- Crowd Management
- Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Course
- Marine Pollution Consolidated (MARPOL I-VI)
- Medical Care (MECA)
- Medical Emergency First Aid (MEFA)
- Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boat (PSCRB)
- Shore-based Fire fighting
- Basic Baking
- Basic Culinary
- Catering Management – Chief Cook Course
- Basic Food Service Management
- Galley and Provision Management
- Housekeeping Management (Steward Course)
- Advanced Messman Course
- International Cooking
- Specialty Cuisine
4. How often can I apply for the SUP?
There is no limit as to how often you can apply for the program. However, to allow for newer applicants, subsequent applications are allowed only every 6 years, or every after three (3) recorded membership contributions.
The Seafarer’s Upgrading Program provides many Filipino seafarers the opportunity to amp up their skills and knowledge towards building a life and career at sea. And with the many benefits of this program alone, there’s no reason not to grab it—no water will be too deep, no sea too far, for a fully-equipped and empowered Filipino seafarer, thanks to OWWA.
The SUP will greatly benefit Filipino seafarers who aim to obtain credentials and qualifications that will provide them opportunities and marketability in the future. And for those who plan on using their skills only within the Philippines, this program is a nice way to explore other career options internationally.
For more information on the SUP and other OWWA programs, you may visit their official website at www.owwa.gov.ph or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial. You may also download the OWWA Mobile App on Google Play and App Store to stay updated on their projects and releases.