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Singapore celebrates its seafarers ahead of World Maritime Day

Singapore: In view of the forthcoming International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) World Maritime Day, Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) together with the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU) and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) held a hamper presentation ceremony yesterday.

Since 2003 hampers have been distributed to some 600 individual ships which call at Singapore. This year the 'goodies' bag contained foodstuff, magazines, DVDs and information material on Singapore. On a conservative estimate of 20 crew per vessel, the initiative reaches out to some 12,000 seafarers every year.

MPA ceo CE BG(NS) Tay Lim Heng said, "This is one of the ways in which we show our appreciation to seafarers for their commitment to their vocation and craft. Without them, global trade and economic progress would quite literally come to a standstill." Besides this and other initiatives, the MPA also provides an annual grant of $100,000 to the various seafarer missions in Singapore to assist them in carrying out their welfare activities for seafarers.

The hampers were given away by Ms Grace Fu (pictured left), Minister of State for National Development and Advisor to SMOU and SOS. Fu who worked for many years in the maritime sector, before entering politics, said that the maritime industry contributes about 7% in direct value-add to Singapore's GDP, and provides jobs for about 95,000 employees. The sector is expected to continue to grow.

This year's ceremony was considered especially meaningful as it coincides with the meeting of the International Committee on Seafarer's Welfare in Singapore (ICSW), which was last held here some 17 years ago. [19/09/07]

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