The Senate approved on third and final reading on Monday a bill seeking to regulate and modernize the practice of naval architecture in the country.

Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, sponsor of Senate Bill 2482, said the proposed measure will help promote innovations in the ship building and repair industry by replacing the five-decade old law.

Trillanes said the pending law seeks to introduce international practices and standards in the naval architect profession.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, the principal author of the measure, said the government needs to develop the global competitiveness of the Philippines’s shipbuilders as the country is a leading maritime nation.

“Given the advances in the technology and developments in the profession, the law, which has been in existence for 50 years, is no longer responsive to the needs of the Filipino professionals,” Drilon said in a statement.

He said the bill also seeks to harness the skills of Filipino naval architects “by providing them continuing professional development and training.”

Data from the Maritime Industry Authority in 2013 showed that the country has surpassed its European counterparts in shipbuilding.

The Philippines is also the fourth largest ship building country after Korea, China and Japan, according to data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“The economic upswing in [the ship building] sector rests on the appeal of our naval architects, who are highly valued for their proven competence and remarkable diligence,” Trillanes said.

In an investment report, the DTI said the country is now building more ships of larger tonnage capacities like bulk carriers, container ships and passenger ferries.

Among the Philippines’s competitive advantage in shipbuilding are its readily available skilled manpower, available areas to set up shipyards and liberalized imports of raw materials, the DTI noted.