Young SMOU (YSMOU) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) organised a Youth Maritime e-Forum, reprising the success from its inaugural Youth Maritime Forum held five years ago, themed “Developing Youth of Today, Exploring Maritime of Tomorrow” at the National Gallery Singapore.
Held on 19 May 2021, the Youth Maritime e-Forum, themed “A Resilient Maritime SG – Adapting to the New Normal”, joined by more than 170 youths from the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) and Institute of Technical Education (ITE), seafaring cadets and officers as well as invited guests.
SMOU General Secretary Mary Liew kickstarted the e-Forum with welcoming the speakers and the youth. Besides promising an afternoon of insights into building a resilient maritime Singapore, she also gave some word of encouragement to the participants.
“It is important for us to persevere on, and let us turn every crisis into opportunity, so that we remain a vibrant industry with many opportunities available out at sea, and back on shore. Whether you are a seafaring officer or a shore personnel at a shipping company, SMOU and our tripartite partners will continue to be here for you as we have during the pandemic. It is #BecauseOfYou that we will continue to have a ‘Resilient Maritime Singapore’.”
YSMOU and MPA invited four guest speakers from different sectors of the maritime industry to share on some of the trending maritime topics. Mr Thomas Ting, Chief Technology Officer of MPA, provided a glimpse on the technology plans for the next generation Tuas port. Participants also had a better understanding on how the union and tripartite efforts have come together to help seafarers and shipping companies during the pandemic, as shared by Mr Gwee Guo Duan, Assistant General Secretary of SMOU.
Former seafarer, Capt Jeevan Raj, currently a fleet manager with Heidmar (Far East), shared about the career opportunities at sea and on shore, as well as the importance of upgrading one’s maritime knowledge. The youth were also able to take a peek at the life of a seafarer and understand some of the challenges faced, as Chief Officer and SMOU Member Putera Muhammad Ali recounted his seafaring journey and adventures.
After having heard sharing and insights by the guest speakers, the forum went a notch higher through an interactive panel discussion with the speakers. There was a robust discussion on issues from vaccination, mental health and smart port technology, to queries for job opportunities and training related to technology. The speakers shared about various platforms where the youth can expand their knowledge, and the importance of leveraging on technology to streamline work. The participants heard about MPA’s initiatives in reducing the turnaround time of vessels in Singapore’s port water, through the just-in-time planning, to have better coordination between arriving vessels and port services.
The youth also learnt how the union continues to strive for the seafaring community, for instance working with MPA to prioritise the frontline maritime personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, and plans to provide mental health talks for the seafarers. To meet the trend of the younger seafarers’ career aspirations, it was shared that a workgroup has been formed to provide various opportunities for the different COC holders. This is to provide the seafarers a full spectrum of what they can expect at different stages of their career.
The Youth Maritime e-Forum 2021 was both insightful and motivating. The youth gained deeper insights on digitalisation, various career opportunities in the maritime industry and tripartite efforts in dealing with the pandemic. It is good to know that with the backing of the maritime community, we can overcome challenges ahead and build a resilient maritime Singapore.
“Technology has enabled the automation and augmentation of many tasks that are performed by humans. It has also made some jobs more attractive, efficient, or safer, as well as created new business and job opportunities. I am glad to be part of this meaningful event, and hope that we have inspired youths to build exciting and rewarding careers in the maritime industry.” Mr Thomas Ting, Chief Technology Officer, MPA
“The biggest takeaway from the e-Forum was about the Tuas port development – the pivotal role it will play in the near future and how technology such as artificial intelligence, algorithms, wearable technology, cyber security will become one of its key components. This is an eye-opener for me and a reminder to not stay stagnant. Whoever wants to succeed has to adapt. I am now aware that I should make myself adaptable to the current trends and technology, and begin to enrich myself more towards these areas.” – Farhan Fadillah, 3rd Officer (SMOU member)
“Through the e-Forum I realised that seafarers make sacrifices and face many challenges where one must have the passion and perseverance to overcome it. I also learnt about the plans to digitalise the ship port operations and the considerations needed to ensure that cybersecurity is at a high level.”
– Siti Sarah Yusli, ITE – Higher Nitec in Maritime Business
“I have a better understanding on what SMOU is about, and how the union can help seafaring members in times of need. I particularly enjoyed the panel discussion the most because not only was I able to clarify some of my doubts, I got to learn more from others about the maritime industry.” – Zhao Yanrui, SMA –Diploma in Marine Engineering