Dohle Group highlights impact of ‘ambulance chasing’ on Filipino seafarers

(From left) Tore Henriksen, president of Dohle Shipmanagement Philippine Corp.; Johann Diercks, managing director of Peter Döhle Schiffarts-KG; and Iris Baguilat, president of Dohle Seafront.

As posted by The Manila Times on November 22, 2023

DOHLE Group warned that ambulance chasing will have an adverse effect on the appeal and well-being of Filipino seafarers.

The German shipping company, maintains a strong reliance on Filipino talent, with 60 percent of their active seafarers originating from the Philippines.

Dohle Seafront Crewing (Manila), the Philippine manning arm, reported that 1,400 Filipino seafarers were aboard their ships, and the company manages 135 vessels with plans for further expansion in crewing. Dohle employs about 3,000 Filipino seafarers.

Johann Diercks, managing director of Peter Döhle Schiffarts-KG, lauded the competence and loyalty of Filipino seafarers as pillars of the company’s success. However, he cited the challenge posed by ambulance chasing, emphasizing the need for legal interventions to address the issue at its root.

Iris Baguilat, president of Dohle Seafront, said that ambulance chasing is a shared concern for the maritime community. She revealed a troubling statistic — a 24 percent reversal rate of awards in favor of ship owners — resulting in seafarers losing homes, bank accounts, and assets due to wrongful judgments.

This predatory practice not only burdens seafarers but also tarnishes the industry’s attractiveness. Collaborative efforts, supported by the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (Amosup) and employers, aim to eradicate this unfair practice. The Department of Labor proposed including ambulance chasing awareness in pre-departure orientation seminars for all seafarers.

Tore Henriksen, president of Dohle Shipmanagement Philippine Corp., underscored the importance of transparency and simplicity to ensure the competitiveness of Filipino seafarers globally. Henriksen advocates for a straightforward and transparent approach to regulations, enhancing overall industry efficiency.

“If regulatory hurdles or unforeseen changes arise, we will reassess the situation,” Diercks said.”However, with current developments and a general sense of optimism, we remain committed to using the Philippine workforce as our most crucial asset.”