With SailMAP, Wai Kit aims to Go All The Way
4th Engineer Chan Wai Kit with Grindrod Shipping Pte Ltd shared that if he could go back in time, he would have started his seafaring career much sooner.
After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Wai Kit worked in PSA International for eight years before he quit to go back to school at the age of 30.
Grateful for the opportunity to pursue a career at sea, Wai Kit said, “In the future, if my children want to pursue a maritime career, I will give my full support because the industry offers many opportunities. My only advice would be, that it is better to start young. The earlier you start, the sooner you will master the craft.”
He decided to go for it and did not look back since. His parents, who initially doubted, respected his decision after understanding how the maritime career offers a better life.
As a marine engineer, Wai Kit thrives on finding engineering solutions in tricky situations at sea. “We always need to think on our feet and work with the available resources we have at hand. The cost of delay is a direct loss to the company. We don’t want that to happen,” he remarked.
In November 2022, Wai Kit received S$10,000 as a recipient of the Sail Milestone Achievement Programme (SailMAP), a tripartite initiative, for signing on the first ocean-going ship voyage after obtaining COC Class 5 Marine Engineer Officer.
SailMAP, a tripartite initiative, offers monetary incentives of up to S$50,000 to seafarers as they attain their seafaring training milestones.
“The incentive from the award attracts and challenges people like me to go all the way to attain COC 1. The financial help comes in handy when I am in between contracts and needing to pay for upgrading and refreshing courses, ” Wai Kit pointed out.
One of the challenges he highlighted was not being able to be with his family for the six months at sea and having to work his way up from the bottom. “Many younger cadets change their career pathways at this point. But I can’t afford to waste time. My goal is to be a chief engineer before I turn 40. The SailMAP award is an encouraging reward to remind myself that I am on the right track,” he commented.
He is grateful that SMOU, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the shipping community are cheering seafarers on through initiatives like SailMAP and more.
During the Covid pandemic outbreak, Wai Kit could not sign off after some 8 months including more than a month of drydocking in China due to strict virus safety measures and travel restrictions.
“I was close to missing my semester 3 course. MPA gave the green light for my company to make a special arrangement to have a service ship pick me up half way between Malaysia and Indonesia. I really appreciate the effort,” he said.
When asked what is in the pipeline in his personal life, Wai Kit was happy to share that he is going to get married soon and applying for his Singapore citizenship. He too wishes to continue giving back to society by participating actively in SMOU’s many community outreach programmes.
We wish him nothing but the best. Sail on, Wai Kit!