BSM Philippines: Celebrating 40 years of seafaring excellence

Incorporated in 1979, BSM Crew Service Centre Philippines (BSM CSC PH) last year celebrated its 40th anniversary with an appreciation dinner held at Sofitel Plaza in Manila.

Over 500 sea and shore staff, as well as local and international dignitaries including Dr. Schulte, Chairman of the Schulte Group, customers and representatives from local authorities, embassies, P&I clubs and seamen’s unions attended the dinner event. The celebration was livestreamed to its two branch offices located in Cebu and Iloilo.

John Pritchett, General Manager HR Marine for East Asia and Pacific

“40 years is a significant milestone, and we commemorated that by giving out a number of long service awards at the event to thank our seafarers and shore staff for their loyalty and excellent work over the past years. Cadets from our two branch offices also joined in the celebrations with their dance performances that were livestreamed to Manila,” said John Pritchett, General Manager Human Resources Marine for East Asia and Pacific.

BSM CSC PH is the oldest and largest of BSM’s 24 Crew Service Centres, providing international customers with recruitment and prevision of competent, experienced and well-trained seafarers. The recruitment centre’s pool consists of over 6,500 seafarers on board and ashore employed on various vessel types such as LPG and LNG carriers, crude oil, product and chemical tankers, containerships and bulk carriers.

John shared that the Philippines is a major manning centre for BSM, with “many clients specifically asking for Filipino seafarers on their vessels. They are vastly recognised as highly skilled and hardworking and their proficiency in English is always a strong consideration for our customers,” he explained.

“Seafaring remains very popular for many Filipinos as it offers a professional career with an attractive salary package, allowing them to provide for their families comfortably,” John added, as he elaborated that it is not uncommon for Filipinos to have a family member who is a seafarer. He highlighted that BSM maintains its high standards among Filipino seafarers through its strong reputation established over the years fostering an open culture among seafarers.

“BSM’s salaries are highly competitive and we conduct annual salary reviews to ensure that they are in line with the industry. However, it is not just the money and reputation that make our seafarers stay on for so many years – we provide our seafarers with a high level of professional service which they appreciate,” John said.

He further elaborated, “Seafarers are our bread and butter, and we cannot simply rely on our reputation. That is why we have fostered an open and transparent culture in our operations.”

BSM works to a ‘Just Culture’ which means BSM encourages accountability among its seafarers. “When something goes wrong, we have to critically examine the problem and determine the root cause. If it is a human error, we can explore retraining to prevent a recurrence,” John elaborated.

Training is one of the top priorities for BSM’s seafarers. John shared that while BSM recruits seafarers of a high calibre, they are continuously given the opportunity to enhance their professional career with the company through the mandated interactive training and value-added training on offer.

“Through the continuous training and upgrading, we support our seafarers with career progression. We have seen seafarers who started their careers with us at the cadet level and have progressed to Master or Chief Engineer today, with some even moving on to management positions ashore,” John said.

With opportunities abound at BSM CSC PH, John highlighted that they have a retention rate of over 90 percent with most seafarers and staff choosing to stay on for many years. He shared that they regularly give out long service awards about once or twice a month – as an appreciation of all their hard work.

“Companies are not necessary about the name, but it is always about the people. It is always great to present the awards to a room of staff with a collective 100 years of service in front of you,” John said.

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