The maritime industry has always been an ever-changing landscape, and its seafarers face a multitude of challenges in their careers. At NTUC One Marina Boulevard on 26 July 2023, some 20 young seafarers gathered to share their concerns through a focus group discussion.
The agenda of the closed-door session was to hear from the youth on what concerns them in the maritime industry. The youth were divided into groups, where they shared their views and personal experiences on topics ranging from welfare, to training and development, communications and seafarers’ challenges at work.
Through the discussion, the seafarers were able to glean some insights of the evolving maritime trends. They shared on some of the positive experiences encountered at foreign ports, as well as welfare onboard that are valued by seafarers. Additionally, they provided useful views on essential training and development which may enhance support for them in their career progression. The importance of mental wellness and benefits of mentorship, were also advocated by the youth.
Deriving from the discussion, respective groups presented their thoughts, and the participants were also engaged in exchanging of views.
Through the power of conversation, the sharing among the young seafarers, brought to light their commitment to create a more supportive and progressive maritime industry.
SMOU will continue to work with our seafaring members, to further improve the seafarers’ welfare and to help upskill seafarers to be equipped for the future of shipping.
Newly joined SMOU member, Deck Cadet Chia Yu Eng felt that the Young Seafarers Conversation offered him useful insights into how the current shipping industry is like. He was able to listen and share ideas to improve the welfare of seafarers.
Yu Eng added, “I hope to learn more on mental health, in order to help other seafarers, so that we can better prepare ourselves when we join ship.”
4th Engineer Danial Hanis (SMOU member of 1 year), felt that the focus group discussion opened up conversations on concerns relevant to seafarers.
He said, “We may not have the solutions now, but I am glad we all had the chance to meet up through this platform and the voices of seafarers are being heard. At the same time, I find great satisfaction in meeting fellow seafarers, as it motivates me more to continue sailing.”