Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, known as HHIC Phil, was established in February 2006 by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction of South Korea. In the same month, the first ship building contract was signed for 4 container ships. In May 2006, the construction of a shipyard began on Redondo Peninsula – on the northern edge of Subic Bay.
The first vessel “Argolikos” was delivered in July 2008 for the Greek ship owner Dioryx. As of April 2011, the shipyard had delivered 20 ships. Currently, a wide variety of medium and large bulk carriers are being built at HHIC and smaller off-shore projects like CALM buoys.
The shipyard has the two largest drydocks in the world.
As a part of its expansion process overseas, Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation established what it envisaged to be the fourth largest shipyard in the world, in Subic – Zambales, Philippines. As of 2011 September, the shipyard employed 21,000 Filipinos. Its workforce was expected to increase to nearly 28,000 in 2016.
As of September 2011, HHIC Phil is the largest shipyard in the Philippines and one of the largest private employers in the country.
According to the New York Times article “Philippines Role May Grow as U.S. Adjusts Asia Strategy” of April 30, 2012: “On April 18, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries, a United States defense contractor, announced a deal to work with Hanjin Heavy Industries, which maintains a shipbuilding and repair facility at the former base at Subic Bay. That opens the door to large-scale servicing of United States military ships there for the first time in almost 20 years.”
In a news release announcing the deal, Huntington Ingalls said the companies “will work together in providing maintenance, repair and logistics services to the U.S. Navy and other customers in the Western Pacific region.”
Jeepneys and buses hired to HHIC transport workers daily and run between HHIC shipyard and the two close by towns – Castillejos and Subic. Most workers come from other parts of the Philippines and stay in boarding houses in these two towns. Two fast ferries owned by HHIC transport owners representatives from the Hanjin jetty (near All hands beach – SBMA) to the shipyard. Security to access the shipyard remains tight. The area is also strategically important to the Philippines armed forces, hence is protected by both – The HHIC Police as well as Philippines armed forces commandos.
The shipyard is located at the tip of the Redondo peninsula, in sitio Agusuhin, in the state of Zambales, Luzon. Just outside the shipyard lie a long line of sari-sari shops and small local restaurants for the workers, However, there are no houses for workers here. A large number of Koreans and Romanians who form the higher level management of the shipyard live inside the shipyard, in baracks accommodations. The land here is owned by SBMA – Subic bay metropolitan authority.
While HHIC’s presence in Subic has brought thousands of jobs to the area, a steady stream of accidental workplace deaths and alleged labor violations has called into question the company’s compliance with Philippine labor and occupational safety laws. During a two-month span in 2008, five workers were killed in accidents that may have resulted from unsafe working conditions. This prompted investigations by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Philippine Congress, which found violations of safety and labor laws. At the conclusion of the Congressional investigation, legislators required Hanjin to build a medical center and comply with industrial safety laws within six months. Workers have since continued to express complaints of abuse on the part of management; one such incident was caught on camera and distributed to the Filipino news station ABS-CBN. Many workers have also begun to organize to attain union recognition. According to organizers, who have started a blog to document abuses, 60 employees have been terminated for union-related activity and over 30 have been killed in workplace accidents since the shipyard opened in 2006. Filipino church groups like the Caritas Filipinas Foundation have also rallied around the workers. HHIC-Phil general manager Pyeong Jong Yu has expressed commitment to preventing future incidents.
Since 2011, standards of safety at the shipyard have improved, especially after ship owners introduced their own health and safety teams to augment the shipyard efforts. This has resulted in among the safest work environments in Philippines.
Managerial staff in the shipyard are Koreans. Mid-manager level staff are both Koreans, Romanians and Filipinos. Foremen for workers include Koreans, Filipinos and Romanians. Most of (approximately 200) Romanian workers are employed in dock 5 and few in Dock No.6 The recruitment company from Romania is Gateway Trading SRL, which has been doing a great job recruiting workers for the past 8 years to HHIC-Phil. The large bulk of workers are Filipinos. The shipyard provides free meals to all its workers in five large canteens.
Dock No.5 where the foreign workers ( Romanian) are employed had developed a better production and work quality overall and have proved Hanjin’s decision to hire foreign workers to be the most successful since it was implemented at the beginning of 2008.