Thank you for subscribing to Seavoices’ updates!

Please take a moment to check your email inbox and confirm your subscription to start receiving the latest news and updates.

13 Jul 2022
6 mins
MPA CE Sister Quah Ley Hoon Awarded Medal of Commendation

Sister Quah Ley Hoon, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Chief Executive, was awarded the Medal of Commendation at this year’s May Day Awards.

Nominated by SMOU, Sister Ley Hoon’s award was conferred on her in recognition of her exemplary contributions to growing the maritime industry and developing an excellent tripartite partnership together with the unions and employers.

SMOU General Secretary Mary Liew described Sister Ley Hoon as “a great leader with a tremendous heart for the welfare and well-being of our seafarers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.” She also affirmed Sister Ley Hoon’s fervent advocacy of the Singapore core.

“Since the wake of the global Covid-19 outbreak, Sister Ley Hoon has been relentless in partnering the unions to bring timely and practical help to Singapore seafarers and maritime workers. Her strategic ways of making Singapore outstanding as an international maritime hub in such a challenging environment reveals the mantle of leadership she carries,” said Sister Mary in an interview with SeaVoices.

“It is with great pride that SMOU gets to work alongside with Sister Ley Hoon to formulate the Seafarers Relief Package (SRP), Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund, Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE), seaVax 2.0, crew change protocol and more.

The May Day Award citation highlighted her significant contributions that showed what a bold, visionary, gritty and compassionate chief executive she is. For all her contributions to the seafarers, the maritime community and tripartism, we are truly grateful. SMOU’s nomination is our way of saying thank you from our heart.”

On receiving the award, Sister Ley Hoon posted on her LinkedIn:

“This award is an award for Tripartite Maritime SG partnership which I collect on behalf. Without the strong leadership by Singapore Shipping Association and our seafarers Unions (SMOU and SOS), we would not have been able to put in place safe crew change procedures, isolation facilities such as SEACARE, STAR fund, SAVE and SeaVax.

And to the dedicated teams in PSA/JPPL/SPWU/POU/ASME for keeping our Maritime workers safe and keeping ports open 24/7, as well as all teams in MPA/MOT/AUSBE for working tirelessly behind the scene to make this work for our companies, crew and Maritime workers. We will continue to do our best!”

Held on 19 May 2022 (Thursday) at Fairmont Singapore, the NTUC May Day Awards 2022 saw the highest number of awardees in the history of May Day Awards with 149 union leaders, tripartite partners, and model workers being recognised for their contributions.

Hosted by NTUC President Mary Liew and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, the ceremony had over 500 attendees – including awardees, their families, colleagues, friends, and tripartite partners in attendance.

The top May Day Award – the Distinguished Service (Star) Award – was awarded to Bob Tan Beng Hai, Member of NTUC Club Management Council. 

May Day Awards 2022 Citation


Quah Ley Hoon
Chief Executive
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

Nominated by Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU)

When the union shared the news with MPA Chief Executive Quah Ley Hoon that Singaporean seafarers, who were unable to secure shipboard employment, were exempted from the Government COVID-19 Recovery Grant, she quickly got her team to work with SMOU. Together, they formulated the Seafarers Relief Package (SRP), which was part of the MaritimeSG Together Package. The SRP has provided financial support to Singaporean seafarers in the maritime industry since the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

As of 1 May 2020, MPA, together with SMOU, has provided up to $800 per month in financial assistance to each Singaporean seagoing officer who could not secure shipboard employment due to border control measures and crew change restrictions.

When COVID-19 started to spread, crew change became a real issue as counties began to turn down crew change due to the fear of imported cases. Singapore was no exception, and the nation tighten its border controls. Singapore, however, still did allow crew change to take place on a case-to-case basis, but it only served as a temporary fix of a bigger problem.

Sister Ley Hoon came together with the Tripartite Partners to form the Singapore Crew Change Workgroup to explore a watertight framework to facilitate crew change in a safe manner here at one of the busiest ports in the world. To further enhance the process of crew change, MPA took the lead and initiated the Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund.

When the vaccines started to roll out, Sister Ley Hoon worked with the union through the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE) to ensure that Singapore was one of the first countries to prioritise vaccination for Maritime workers and local seafarers. The SG-STAR Fund Taskforce also worked with the Ministry of Transport to roll out SeaVax 2.0 to vaccinate international seafarers who faced problems attaining vaccination as they were sailing on board, ensuring that our local seafarers too have a safer working environment.

The entire crew change protocol and vaccination for local and international seafarers posed an immense challenge for MPA as it involved deep local and international collaboration. The projects faced huge resistance in the face of the pandemic, with stakeholders having to balance safety with the rise in infection numbers locally and various immigration challenges. Sister Ley Hoon’s grit and persistence to protect the interests of seafarers paid off. It kept the global supply chain moving, and it ensured that seafarers could continue to secure jobs and sail in a safe environment. She has proven to the tripartite partners how a worker-centric approach can result in a win for the country, businesses, and the workers.

When NTUC rolled out the Company Training Committee (CTC) initiative, SMOU approached the tripartite partners to see how all parties could incorporate the initiative in the Maritime sector. Sister Ley Hoon fully supported the idea and was on board when the union signed the memorandum of understanding on the formation of the Industry Collaboration Training Committee for the seafaring sector. Under Sister Ley Hoon’s leadership, MPA continues to be a strong supporter and funding partner of the union’s Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA), and Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) programmes – two place and train programme to build Singapore’s Core and to help train Singaporeans as seafaring deck and engine officers. MPA’s support has given Singaporeans a second opportunity to take up a maritime seafaring career.