MANILA -- The Philippines has ordered its

seafarers, comprising about a third of the world's commercial sailors, to go through anti-piracy training before they will be

allowed to board ships, the labor secretary said Monday.

The training, which lasts about eight hours, will be mandatory from Jan. 15. The measure is a response to a wave ship hijackings, which remain a serious problem a year after an international naval armada began operating off Somalia to protect shipping lanes.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said sailors will be taught how to use fire hoses and maneuver their vessels to prevent pirates from

scaling them. They will also learn how to manage hostage crises if they are taken captive.

"Everyone who will be deployed on board a ship will go through the training," Roque told The Associated Press.

Recruiting agencies will conduct the training and issue a certificate required by the government prior to a seafarer's

departure, Roque said.