10 April 2019
Ms Vicky Wong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Employment and Employability Institute (e2i),
Captain Mohamad Salleh, Director, Singapore Maritime Academy,
Distinguished Guests and Graduating Cadets,
1. Thank you for inviting me to join in this year’s graduation ceremony for 37 cadets of the Certificate of Competency (CoC) (Special Limit) Training Programmes. I am delighted to be with your family members and friends to celebrate this important and exciting milestone with you.
Training Development in Maritime Industry
2. 2019 is a special year for Singapore and all Singaporeans, as it marks our bicentennial. The strong maritime nation we are today is a testament of how we have come this far together as a nation. Shipping is a very important backbone of our global economy contributing 7% of our GDP and about 170,000 jobs. So you are in the right industry! Our port, our maritime ecosystem, efficient services and skilled manpower are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle contributing to the success of our economy. Singapore’s bicentennial is not just about commemorating events, but also the individuals who have played a role. And today, we are here to celebrate your achievements as cadets, celebrate your family’s pride of our cadets, and celebrate the “jewels” of our Maritime Singapore.
3. Our seafarers are indeed “jewels’ in the industry, and we want more of you in the industry! Over the years, MPA, together with our partners from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) designed a range of training programmes to groom Singaporeans into becoming competent seafarers. Since the introduction of the Special Limit Class 5 Chief Mate programme in 2011, the suite of Special Limit programmes has expanded significantly. In 2012, with the strong support of companies in providing training berths, we started the Special Limit Class 5 Marine Engineer training programme. In 2016, to provide skills upgrading opportunities for our graduates, the Class 4 Master and Chief Engineer training programme were initiated.
Our Commitment to Building a pool of local seafarers
4. We will not stop at what we have done for our local seafarers. As the industry is also rapidly evolving. We have to constantly review our training programmes to better equip our seafarers with skills and capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry, including digitalisation and new technology.
5. Today, I am pleased to make two key announcements:
a. An additional $8.8 million funding to extend the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) training programmes to groom an additional 90 Chief Mates and 90 Marine Engineers until 2021.
b. The CoC Class 4 (Special Limit) training programme will also have its funding extended until 2020 to support the upgrading efforts of the current pool of Chief Mates and Marine Engineers, in order for them to become qualified Special Limit Masters and Chief Engineers.
6. In addition, we also want to prepare our seafarers for a cleaner and greener maritime industry, such as in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering. To ensure our Special Limit officers are also able to safely operate on bunker vessels designed to refuel ships using LNG, I am pleased to share that the training syllabus will now include topics such as Liquefied Gas Tanker Safety and Liquefied Natural Gas Bunkering.
Embarking on Seafaring Careers
7. Now, let me take this opportunity to congratulate the 37 of you, graduating cadets, and your family, for successfully completing your training, and embark on your careers in seafaring. Among you, we have 17 Chief Mates and 14 Marine Engineers who have completed their Certificate of Competency Class 5 examinations.
8. I have the opportunity to meet up with one of you - graduating Chief Mates, Muhammad Noor Ilham Bin Ramli. Ilham (pronounced as eel-harm). He was introduced to the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) Chief Mate training programme by a friend while he was working for a food delivery company back in 2017. He was drawn to the exciting opportunities and experiences out at sea. Eventually, he committed to join the training programme. As part of his training, Ilham learnt to overcome communication barriers, through the use of translation apps on his handphone when he communicates with crew from other nationalities. To ensure he attained his goal to be a seafarer, Ilham sacrificed precious sleep and meet-ups with friends, to revise for his examinations with his batch mates. Today, he is a deserving qualified Chief Mate having passed the Certificate of Competency examinations and has also been nominated by his lecturers as the outstanding cadet of his Chief Mate cohort. I hear that his unwavering commitment was what drove him to success.
9. Another graduate I would like to highlight is Lim Shi Xiang. He studied Marine Engineering at Institute of Technical Education (ITE) where he was first introduced to the maritime industry. After completing his studies at ITE and National Service, he was given an opportunity to work as a technician on board a cruise ship for three months. He was fascinated by how resourceful the Marine Engineers there were able to resolve complicated technical issues. On his return to Singapore, he chanced upon the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) Marine Engineer training programme and signed himself up. He credits his success to his lecturers at ITE, SMA and also his family and friends who supported him through this journey. Today, I would like to tell Shi Xiang’s family and friends that not only has Shi Xiang obtained his Certificate of Competency, his lecturers have also nominated him as the Top Marine Engineer Cadet in his cohort.
Keeping the Fire Burning
10. Next, let me congratulate the 6 CoC Class 4 (Special Limit) Master graduates.
11. One of them is Muhammad Syafiq Bin Abdul Rauf. He was introduced to the training programme at a job fair, just prior to him completing National Service in 2013. After successfully graduating from the Chief Mate training programme in 2015, it became his dream to become a ship master one day. With his family’s support and encouragement, Syafiq underwent the CoC Class 4 (Special Limit) Master training programme and successfully completed it. As an added incentive, he received the SkillsFuture Study Award. Today, he will receive the coveted epaulettes and peaked cap, as a qualified Master.
12. Another notable person I would like to highlight is Elvie Nilia Sagr. Since graduating as the top marine engineer cadet in 2015 for her excellent attitude and results, Elvie has continued her good progress and received her Class 4 Chief Engineer qualifications as well as the SkillsFuture Study Award just last year. This year, I am heartened to hear that she has been officially appointed a Chief Engineer by her company, with the huge responsibility of ensuring craft equipment and systems remain operational at all times. Her passion for the seas, coupled with her perseverance to achieve her goal has seen her rise steadily from cadet to Chief Engineer.
13. To all officers gathered here, I hope you will strive to attain your Master and Chief Engineer credentials! Do keep the fire burning and be on a relentless pursuit of excellence as you embark on your seafaring careers.
14. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all family members and loved ones who are here today. I am sure that the graduates are appreciative of your support through their training programme.
15. Lastly, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our partners, e2i, SMA, Mendaki SENSE, the unions and sponsoring companies for their invaluable partnership and continued support in the success of Special Limit training programmes.
16. Thank you.