On 8 April 2021, SMOU warmly welcomed Maritime Tripartite Partners for a round-table discussion. Among those present were Sister Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA); Sister Caroline Yang, President of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA); Brother Kam Soon Huat, President of the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS); and officials from the Ministry of Transport (MOT), SSA, MPA, SOS and SMOU.
One of the discussion topics was focused on prioritising vaccination of the global seafaring workforce. Maritime tripartite partners rolled out protocols for crew change at the Singapore Port in June 2020, and have subsequently prioritised key workers in the maritime sector, including seafarers working in port for vaccinations. “We’re working at a global level to see how we can get this momentum going for a global programme to vaccinate seafarers.” said Sister Quay Ley Hoon.
While crew change remains a major challenge despite the protocols developed by various countries, tripartite partners discussed how Singapore can play its part for crew signing on and off. As at the start of April, Singapore has facilitated more than 120,000 crew changes in Singapore and has vaccinated more than 27,000 port and onshore marine personnel. Speaking on the current situation, Sister Caroline Yang said, “While crew change challenges remain, let’s all work together to push for a global seafarer vaccination programme and improve on crew change protocols.”
Following the discussion, Sister Mary Liew shared on the continued need to build a stronger Singapore seafaring core. With the support from tripartite partners, we will be able to attract and engage more people to join the vibrant maritime industry. Maritime Singapore has remained resilient despite the difficult environment last year, an achievement possible only with the strong Maritime tripartite partnership we have in Singapore. It was indeed a fruitful dialogue where the spirit of solidarity was further strengthened through collaborative discussions.