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02 Nov 2022
3 mins
Union Outreach to Young Seafaring Officers-to-be

Understanding the rights of a seafarer is important, especially for seafarers-to-be, who might have little knowledge of it. On 30 August, Young SMOU (YSMOU) officials headed down to the Singapore Maritime Academy for a Union Outreach talk – the first physical engagement ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic where YSMOU held virtual outreaches. The session saw more than 50 students from the Diploma in Nautical Studies (DNS) and Marine Engineering (DMR) courses, who were waiting to join ship by the end of this year.

The session kickstarted with a welcome address by YSMOU Chairman, Dominic Yong, who began by sharing stories from seafarers. He shared with the students the advantages of being a Union member as well as SMOU’s work, such as collective bargaining agreement negotiation to ensure seafarers’ welfare is taken care of, handling grievances relating to unpaid wages, workplace accident compensation, and more. The audience also learnt about how SMOU went the extra mile to assist members with employment-related matters as well as some of the initiatives which the union had rolled out for members during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the nation progresses towards living with the COVID-19 pandemic, the union is now able to revert to organising physical activities like volunteering and team-building sessions to further engage with youth members. The students were also encouraged to voice any seafaring concerns or questions should they have any, and were given the assurance that the Union will always be there to protect them as a member.

Towards the end, SMOU representatives addressed queries from students, mainly on how one can benefit from being a member and the protection one is able to receive from Union when faced with employment issues. In closing, the session saw several students readily applying to become a SMOU member, just before they join ship in a few months’ time.

“I found the talk very beneficial because I am about to join ship and knowing that there is a union for me to turn to should I face workplace issue, is important for me. Eventually, I joined SMOU as a member because I believe that they will protect my rights and welfare.”

Daniel Ang, Year 3 DMR student, newly-joined SMOU Member

“Thank you to YSMOU for organising the outreach. I find the session useful in helping us young, potential seafarers realise the presence and importance of unions before we start our seafaring careers.”

Muhammad Al-Luqmanhakim, Year 3 DMR student, newly-joined SMOU Member

Moving forward, SMOU is excited to reach out to more aspiring seafarers to let them know of SMOU’s commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of seafarers.