In conjunction with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ‘Day of the Seafarer’, a new international drop-in centre for seafarers was opened on Tuesday (25 June) at the Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 5 by Captain M. Segar, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
Managed by the Mission to Seafarers (MTS), the new drop-in centre will provide a wide-range of facilities and services that will benefit about 20,000 visiting seafarers who call at Pasir Panjang Terminal each month.
These include free Wi-Fi, computers with internet, telephone service, light refreshments, reading materials, and entertainment such as TV, soccer table and dart boards. There will also be an on-demand shuttle service where seafarers can reserve a seat on the bus to the drop-in centre, on top of scheduled bus services.
The 36 square-metre facility will open daily from 10am till 10pm, and is the second international drop-in centre managed by MTS. There are three other drop-in centres located at Jurong Port, Keppel Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 1.
Since 2004, drop-in centres for seafarers were introduced at Singapore's port terminals to allow visiting seafarers to make phone calls home, surf the web and relax in the lounge area. Other than drop-in centres, MPA also offers seafarers competitively-priced and well-furnished accommodation at the Singapore Mariners' Club, which is located near the Central Business District.
At the event, MPA also distributed a grant of S$150,000 in total to the Apostleship of the Sea, the Danish Seamen’s Church, the International Lutheran Seafarers' Mission, the Mission to Seafarers Singapore, and the Norwegian Seamen's Church to support their wide range of welfare services for seafarers, ranging from ship visitations to counselling services and pastoral care at the mission centres.
As in previous years, MPA, together with Jurong Port (JP), PSA, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS), will jointly present 600 gift hampers to ships calling at Singapore. The hampers containing food and gift items have been put together to encourage bonding and promote the well-being of seafarers. The hampers will reach about 9,000 seafarers as an appreciation for their contributions.
In 2010, the IMO designated the 25th of June as the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ to recognise and celebrate the contributions of the 1.5 million seafarers worldwide. With more than 90% of world trade being carried by sea, seafarers provide a vital service that drives the shipping industry and more importantly, keeps the global economy going. IMO has set the theme for this year’s ‘Day of the Seafarer’ as ‘I am On Board with gender equality’, focusing on the importance and contributions of women in a wide range of maritime careers especially in seafaring.
Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “Women seafarers only make up two per cent of the total number of seafarers sailing the high seas while just a third of global shore-based maritime positions are filled by women. We need to do more to bridge this gender gap by bringing greater awareness of this profession to the masses. MPA, working with partners such as the Singapore Maritime Foundation, is working hard to attract more people to join the sector which offers plenty of opportunities regardless of their gender.”
Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 26 June, 2019
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