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Singapore adds a new initiative: strengthen support for seafarers

From May 1st to July 31st, 2020, Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU) and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) jointly launched seamen The Seafarers Relief Package (SRP) provides subsidies for seafarers who cannot work on ships during the period, and can apply for financial assistance up to US$800 per month.

Recently, the above three organizations announced that they will continue to provide financial assistance to their seafarers from this month until December 31.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore stated that, according to previous plans, from May to July this year, each of its seafarers can claim a total of SGD 2,400 (approximately US$1,770). After the validity of the plan is extended, each seafarer of his country can apply for a subsidy of up to 4800 SGD (about 3540 US dollars).

Singapore’s Minister of Transport, Chee Hong Tat, said: “In order to ensure the normal operation of the global supply chain, seafarers play a key role. Just as seafarers provide guarantees for our material transportation and supply during the epidemic, we should also provide them with support. Singapore has always Work towards this end. Since the establishment of the Crew Facilitation Centre at Tanjong Pagar Wharf (Tanjong Pagar) on September 1, the number of seafarers who change shifts every day has tripled. The seafarer rescue plan has been extended by 3 months. It is also to provide substantive assistance to seafarers who cannot go on board due to the epidemic and are at risk of unemployment."

Mary Liew, Secretary-General of the Singapore Maritime Officials Alliance, said: “I hope that our efforts can promote the replacement of seafarers in Singapore’s ports while also providing effective assistance to Singaporean seafarers. At the same time, we hope to expand the scope of financial assistance for seafarers to reduce More financial burdens for seafarers and their families."

Kam Soon Huat, Secretary General of the Singapore Seafarers’ Organization, added: “The Singapore Seafarers’ Organization is very supportive of the further expansion of the Seafarers’ Rescue Program, so as to more effectively help seafarers and their families relieve financial pressure.”

The maritime industry is not only vital to Singapore, maritime trade accounts for more than 80% of global trade. During the epidemic, maritime transport is particularly important to ensure the flow of basic materials such as food and medicine. The disruption of the global supply chain has seriously affected the development of the shipping industry, and more support should be provided to this industry at this time. During the epidemic, seafarers have made outstanding contributions to ensuring the normal operation of the global supply chain. Taking effective measures to actually help seafarers change shifts safely and relieve employment and financial pressure is the top priority to help seafarers get out of trouble.