Full steam ahead for Samoan sailors

By Bethel Peato Ale 24 November 2021, 8:44PM

Samoan sailors are set to benefit from a new chance to climb the career ladder of international seafaring work as officers at sea.

The Samoa Shipping Services (S.S.S) says the new opportunities for Samoans employed at sea represent a breakthrough following their 40-year partnership with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (M.S.C).

The opportunities are an essential chance for Samoan sailors to reach new heights in international seafaring, the Office of the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure said. 

The employment openings have been advertised publicly for qualified Samoan seafarers based both locally and abroad with an interest in applying.  

Only very few Samoan seafarers have attained the required qualifications to fulfil the duties required of these Officer-level opportunities. 

(The required courses to qualify at these levels are not offered at the local School of Maritime Training at the National University of Samoa.)

The Government said that the range of seafaring scholarships made available to local trainers to study in New Zealand, Australia, or Fiji would be needed to ensure that Samoa had a growing and qualified pool of sailors at officer ranks. 

A request for employment candidates first made by the Samoa Shipping Corporation’s long-time partner Mediterranean Shipping Company had been put on hold since September 2020 when all cruise ships ceased operations because of the global pandemic. 

In April 2021, the Samoa Shipping Services initiated its recruitment process to prepare for the deployment of a new group of sailors in collaboration with the Disaster Advisory Committee (D.A.C.) and National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.), to ensure pandemic-related health precautions were met.  

S.S.S also discussed some of the requirements for the new employment opportunity with the sailors and their families and the new COVID-19 safety requirements  on-board vessels. 

Seafarers were instructed to be mindful of new health requirements which they should meet in order to ensure safety from COVID-19 when traveling, as well as being fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is compulsory for the sailors.

The sailors will travel to future deployments in groups depending on available flights and will also be required to process immigration and health requirements for all ports of transit to avoid being stranded in foreign countries, particularly during times of heightened security and health screening requirements.

S.S.S says that it will continue to progress with more embarking crews to depart Samoa in November and December 2021 and aims for 400 to 500 sailors to be employed on-board M.S.C vessels by the end of this year.

Estimates of the return on the new jobs in the form of remittances of  money returned to families in Samoa alone stands at more than $40 million, the S.S.S. estimated.

By Bethel Peato Ale 24 November 2021, 8:44PM
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