Photo: Tour of a simulator room at Wavelink Maritime Institute; Image courtesy: MOA Singapore

Singaporean seafarers get additional unemployment assistance

Singaporean seafarers who were unable to secure shipboard employment between May and December 2020 due to COVID-19 related impact have received additional unemployment assistance.

Since May 1, 2020, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS), have provided up to $800 per month in financial assistance to each Singaporean seafarer who was unable to secure shipboard employment between May- July 2020, due to crew change restrictions.

The financial support was extended under the Seafarers Relief Package (SRP) by another three months, i.e. from a cap of three months (up to $2400) to six months (up to $4800).

The ongoing humanitarian crisis faced by seafarers has left over 400,000 seafarers stuck at sea and 400,000 more unable to join ships amid COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

As a result, the livelihoods of seafarers unable to sign onto ships have been jeopardized.

The seafarer community is in the midst of a mental health crisis due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the seafarers’ welfare and that of their families.

“Seafarers play a vital role in enabling global seaborne trade, and keeping the supply of critical goods flowing. To enhance our safety net for Singaporean seafarers, we will extend the Seafarers Relief Package to provide more help to those whose jobs are affected by COVID-19.  We will also support seafarers to go for training and to upgrade their skills,” Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

“SOS strongly supports the extension of SRP amidst the ongoing challenges faced by Singaporean seafarers and their dependants. We understand their concerns and we want to be there for them as much as we can during this difficult phase of their seafaring career,” Kam Soon Huat, SOS’s President, added.

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