The evolving COVID-19 situation has affected us in one way or another. Back in May 2020, NTUC and SMOU introduced the NTUC/SMOU Care Fund (COVID-19) for Union members who faced financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 SMOU members have successfully applied for the NTUC/SMOU Care Fund through SMOU since.
As seafarers continue to be affected by COVID-19’s impact on the economy, more members can now apply online and benefit from this initiative with the new qualifying criteria. Successful recipients who had previously received NTUC/SMOU Care Fund (COVID-19) will be eligible to receive another round of cash relief.
SeaVoices spoke to SMOU’s seafaring members to learn more about how they have benefited from this initiative during these extraordinary times.
Deck Cadet Tan Chin Woo
“Due to the uncertainty of the situation, my company was not able to give me an estimate on when I could get back onboard, I was worried about not having any income.
Through Young SMOU’s online outreach initiatives, I learnt about the SMOU/NTUC Care Fund initiatives that are extended to members and seafaring officers affected by the pandemic. Thankfully I was able to benefit from the financial relief for household items for a couple of months.”
“We may face difficulties in our personal and professional aspects of our lives, but in times of need, it feels good to be supported by the Union and knowing that I am not alone in this.”
3rd Officer Raja Muhamad Asyraf
“I was worried about not having any employment as I was already surviving on savings. Furthermore, I am in the midst of taking my CoC 2/1 studies with Singapore Maritime Academy, I was concerned about my finances brought about by the temporary unemployment.
Thankfully, the NTUC/SMOU Care Fund has helped to provide relief from my household expenses. I am heartened and humbled by the support SMOU had provided for its members in times of crisis.”
Deck Cadet Arvind Dixen
“I am thankful for benefitting from the NTUC/SMOU Care Fund which were issued on top of the government support grants. The funds were enough to cover all my basic necessities during the lockdown.
SMOU is always there to support seafarers in any situation. My wish to SMOU and NTUC is to continue to keep up with the great work in providing us with funded training programs and financial assistance during these challenging times”
Deck Cadet Navendran S/O Rajandran
“I was concerned for my seafaring career as I needed to clock in more seatime and it was difficult to join ships during COVID-19 pandemic. I had to look for temporary job opportunities to help tide through my temporary unemployment.
I am heartened to know that I am not alone in this as I feel supported by the union. The NTUC/SMOU Care Fund has helped provide relief for my monthly household expenses.”
2nd Officer Mark Koh
“This pandemic has hit many individuals in different ways. SMOU was kind enough to assist me during these difficult times. I had benefitted from the NTUC/SMOU Care Fund and this had provided me financial relief on my monthly groceries.
To all my fellow seafarers, take this situation as an opportunity to connect with your loved ones. After all, as the saying goes, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.