Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) is collaborating with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to help unemployed Singaporean seafarers tide over the COVID-19 pandemic. MPA had earlier announced the MaritimeSG Together Package, a slew of measures, to help the industry. Lee Kok Leong, executive editor, Maritime Fairtrade, reports
SOS is the latest seafarer union collaborating with MPA to contribute to the Seafarers Relief Package (SRP) to assist its Singaporean members whose shipboard employment has been affected by border control measures and crew change restrictions. The SRP provides support of $800 per month to eligible Singaporean seafarers who are unable to secure shipboard employment between 1 May 2020 and 31 July 2020.
More Singaporean seafarers without shipboard employment will be eligible for additional assistance under the MaritimeSG Together Package announced by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on 29 April 2020.
Quah Ley Hoon, MPA’s Chief Executive, said, “MPA has been working closely with the maritime industry and unions to recognize the contributions of our seafarers who have been working to keep supply chains moving amidst this pandemic. We welcome SOS coming onboard to help those Singaporean seafarers who do not have shipboard employment through the SRP.”
On 29 Apr, MPA had unveiled a number of measures under the MaritimeSG Together Package to help the maritime industry, one of which is focused on Singaporean seafarers as below.
- MPA has been facilitating the return of Singaporean seafarers who wish to sign off when their ships call at Singapore.
- MPA and the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) will roll out the SRP for eligible seafarers who are unable to secure shipboard employment between 1 May to 31 Jul 2020. They can apply to receive up to $800 per month in financial assistance.
- To encourage Singaporeans to continue to pursue their career advancements, MPA, the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), SMOU, and SOS are jointly providing $10,000 to eligible Certificate of Competency Class 1 (COC 1) holders who can accumulate at least six months of sea experience as Chief Officers or Second Engineers from Jan to Dec 2020.
- To enable the Singapore Maritime Academy cadets to complete their diploma and obtain their Certificate of Competencies (CoC) as scheduled despite disruptions to their shipboard training, MPA and SMA will exercise flexibility on the curriculum requirements and put in place alternative arrangements such as carrying out classroom trainings online and deferring shipboard training. MPA has also started to carry out oral examinations via video-conferencing for seafarer candidates so as not to hold up the advancement of their careers.