Employing Singaporean Seafarers

Although foreigners with relevant qualifications and experience help fill gaps in skills and expertise, owners of Singapore vessels should make reasonable efforts to attract and consider Singaporeans for job positions on merit, and to train and develop their potential and careers. Companies can tap on national training schemes to train and employ Singaporean seafarers. The various schemes available to support Singaporeans’ career in seafaring are summarised below. Further details of the specific schemes available can also be found below in this section.



Available pool of Singaporean Cadets

There are currently two groups of Singaporean cadets. One group are cadets from Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) pursuing their certificate of competencies (CoCs) under the Diploma in Nautical Studies (DNS) or Diploma in Marine Engineering (DMR). Another group are cadets under the Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) and Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) administrated by Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI). 
Ship-owners can approach SMA and WMI to tap on the pipeline of Singaporean and Singapore permanent resident cadets from Singapore Polytechnic and/or Wavelink Maritime Institute.       

Available Schemes to Tap on

Singapore recognises the need to train qualified seafaring officers and have put in place a set of schemes to support seafaring careers.


To provide monetary support to owners, MPA has in place the Cadet Allowance Reimbursement. Up to S$400/month may be reimbursed to owners for each Singaporean and permanent resident cadet that they place during the cadet sea service.        

Cadet Allowance Reimbursement Scheme 

Who is eligible 

Singapore-based employers who train local cadets from Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA)

How much50% of cadet’s training allowance will be reimbursed to the employer by MPA, up to maximum of $400/month

Eg: Cadet A is receiving an allowance of $700/month from the employer, $350/month will be reimbursed to the employer

Eg: Cadet B is receiving an allowance of $900/month from the employer, $400/month will be reimbursed to the employer

How to applyEmployers are to submit the claim form after the completion of the cadets’ entire sea service. The claim form and more information can be found in MPA Shipping Circular No. 26 of 2015 (.pdf, 491 KB).

Tripartite Maritime Scholarship

Click here for more info.

To encourage local seafarers to continue progressing in their careers, MPA along with the tripartite partners have put in place a set of incentive schemes for the seafarers and their employers:

SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme

The SkillsFuture ELP for Seafaring provides local junior officers, who graduated from their institutes, with a well-structured and quality on-the-job training sea service programme. This better prepares the junior officers for their CoC 2 and CoC 1 qualifications, as well as taking up senior shipboard positions.

Who is Eligible


Local graduates from

  • Diploma in Nautical Studies with CoC 3
  • Diploma in Marine Engineering with CoC 5
  • Tripartite Nautical Training Award with CoC 3
  • Tripartite Engineering Training Award with CoC 5


  • Singapore-based employers who take on graduates from the above programmes
How much


Up to $5,000 for the successful completion of the programme



Grants of up to $15,000 per junior officer

How to applyPlease refer to MPA Shipping Circular No. 10 of 2016 (.pdf, 35 KB) for more information.


Upskill Allowance

This scheme encourages employers to provide an allowance to local junior seafaring officers pursuing the full-time CoC 2/1 preparatory course.

Who is eligibleLocal seafaring officers pursuing the CoC 1&2 Deck Officer/Marine Engineer Course in Singapore Maritime Academy
How much
During the course duration of 6 months

Candidates to receive a $1,000/month allowance from the employer

Employer to be reimbursed $500/month (50%)

How to applyEmployers are to submit the application form before the start of the course. Please refer to MPA Shipping Circular No. 26 of 2015 (.pdf, 491 KB) for more information.


Achievement Award

This scheme encourages local seafaring officers to continue sailing and progressing in their seafaring careers by providing a monetary incentive for achieving their CoCs.

Local seafaring officers/cadets from Singapore Maritime Academy or Wavelink Maritime Institute who successfully passes their foreign-going CoC exams
Who is eligible
How much

For the attainment of CoC 3 or 5


  • Candidates to receive a $2,000 monetary award from the employer
  • Employer to be reimbursed $1,200/month (60%)

For the attainment of CoC 2 or 1

  • Candidates to receive a $3,000 monetary award from the employer
  • Employer to be reimbursed $1,800/month (60%)

How to applyEmployers are to submit the application form before the start of the course. Please refer to MPA Shipping Circular No. 26 of 2015 (.pdf, 491 KB) for more information.

MPA administers a number of financial assistance schemes that cover educational grants and long service retirement awards for Singaporean seafarers.  

Educational Grants

The educational grant scheme provides financial assistance to serving registered seafarers to attend relevant courses to upgrade themselves and to improve on their qualifications. The grant comprises the actual course fee together with a subsistence allowance of $300 per month on pro-rated basis for full time courses.
Long Service Retirement Award
In recognition of our seafarers’ long service, registered seafarers who have been sailing for at least 15 years and retire at the age of 60 and above will be given cash awards of $1,000 for (15 to 19 years of service), $2,000 (for 20 to 24 years of service), $3,000 (for 25 to 29 years of service) or $4,000 (for 30 or more years of service).
Special Relief Fund for Seafarers
This fund was set up to provide immediate financial assistance to the dependents of Singaporean seafarers found missing at sea. The fund is necessary because insurers normally adhere to a seven-year waiting period under common law before claims in respect of missing persons are met.
Under the relief scheme, a maximum of 12 monthly cash advances worked out on the basis of the missing seafarer's earnings-prior to his disappearance will be disbursed to his dependants. An advance of up to $2,000 to meet the urgent needs of the family is also given where such need is established. The dependants of a missing seafarer who have been granted financial assistance will have to repay the Authority the money they receive after they obtained compensation from the employer or insurer.

Compassionate Payment

This scheme provides for assistance of up to $1,000 to the next-of-kin in the event of the death of a registered seafarer, to help bereaved families meet urgent and immediate financial needs. It is also provided to registered seafarer who are met with unforeseen hardships such as natural calamities, fire, terminal or serious permanent sickness and accidents.

Singapore Stranded Seafarers Fund (SSSF)

The SSSF was created in July 1999 with an initial sum of $300,000. The fund was created to ensure that crew welfare onboard are being taken care of in the event that employers failed to fulfill their obligations due to bankruptcy or insolvency. It would be used to provide the crew with the necessities e.g. food, water supply and fuel for the ship until the crew has been repatriated or when the dispute is settled. 
The fund is jointly funded and administered by MPA and the Singapore two maritime unions – the Singapore Officers’ Maritime Union (SMOU) and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS).