National affiliations

SMOU is a Seafaring Officers’ union that shares a national interest in the development of Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC). We actively work with our tripartite partners to protect our members’ employment rights and enhance their quality of life, to encourage the growth and development of the local maritime industry, and to assist with overcoming the impending challenges of the industry.


Nationally, SMOU works in partnership with many tripartite partners including the Government and the various statutory boards, the National Trades Union Congress and its affiliates, and the national employer organisations including the Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF), the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and the Singapore Maritime Employers’ Federation (SMEF).


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The SMOU has been affiliated to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) since December 1970. The NTUC is a national federation of trade unions of workers in the industrial, service and public sectors. As at 2012, it has 61 trade unions and 14 associations affiliated to it.


Collectively as a partner of the Singapore Labour Movement, SMOU works together with NTUC to protect the interests of those in the labour force, in the areas of Work, Live and Play. This partnership extends to national initiatives including Lifelong Employability and the Skills Redevelopment Programme.


SMOU members also benefit through heavily subsidised and discounted consumer goods and lifestyle services, through the NTUC Co-operatives.


SMOU’s Emeritus General Secretary, Mr Thomas Tay, served as NTUC Vice-President from 1998-2011.


SMOU's General Secretary, Ms Mary Liew, was elected as part of the new 21-member NTUC Central Committee to serve a four year term from 2011-2015 in December 2011. Additionally, she was appointed by the President of Singapore as a Nominated Member of Parliament, representing the labour movement in February 2012 to August 2014.


In October 2015, Ms Liew was elected as NTUC President, the 2nd woman to be elected after Ms Diana Chia. Her term will be from 2015 to 2019.


To learn more about the NTUC, please click on the following link:

SMOU actively works with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), with the long term goal of furthering Singapore’s reputation as a regional and international maritime hub. As a statutory board, MPA regulates and plays the leading role of developing the Singapore maritime industry. Through various National platforms, SMOU works with the MPA, contributing towards the formulation of policies and regulations to protect the welfare and safety of seafarers. These efforts are most notable with the recent engagements relating to the ILO Maritime Labour Convention.


To learn more about the MPA, please click on the following link:

SMOU is a union with a heart not only for its members and their families, but also a union with a heart for the community. The union has been active in helping the less privileged of all walks of life in the community, through various annual outreach events and community projects.


SMOU has adopted the Henderson Home since the 1980s, and the home has benefited through financial and volunteer support. SMOU frequently organises activities for these seniors, celebrating the festive occasions with the seniors and taking them out on excursions.


SMOU’s Care and Share activities also extend to the region, which include fund-raising activities for humanitarian projects in disaster areas, the most recent being the Indonesian Tsunami humanitarian project. SMOU worked together on these projects with Non-Profit Organisations like the Mercy Relief.

Both International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the maritime industry have always seen the importance of the seafaring profession. In year 2010, former IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E Mitropolus declared the year promises to be an auspicious and important year for seafarers.


By presenting 2010 as the Year of the Seafarer, it would help reassure seafarers working at the “sharp end” of the industry that the entire shipping community and those responsible for the international regulatory regime genuinely sympathise, care and understand the extreme pressures that seafarers face in their work.


This theme in hand, also allows the maritime community to pay tribute to the 1.5 million seafarers across the globe for their unique contribution to the society and in recognition, of the vital roles they play in facilitation of the global world trade.


At SMOU, we continue to increase efforts to recruit and train cadets to resolve the manpower shortage issue faced by the industry through various initiatives – such as the Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) and Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) programmes.


Both TNTA and TETA serve as an excellent platform for Singaporeans who aspire to be seafaring deck officers and marine engineers sailing on board ocean going vessels. These initiatives are a result of strong tripartite support by Workforce Singapore (WSG), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and shipping companies so that more Singaporeans can go into these well-paying careers.


The first local maritime union to own a maritime simulation centre integrated with state-of-the-art facilities that includes the latest 240 degree Full Mission Bridge Simulator, Engine Room Simulator, Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) and Liquid Cargo Handling Simulator (LCHS) that costs approximately S$4 million as part of its continual and collective effort to develop the Singapore Maritime Core to support the local maritime industry.


The Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre housed at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability Institute is one of the first few maritime institutes in Singapore to house four simulation systems in one location.

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