SOS holds OGM, the first physical event in over two years

SOS convened for an Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) themed “Shaping a fair future for seafarers” on Mar 26. The OGM was SOS’s first physical event since the onset of Covid-19 more than two years ago.  

In his opening address, General Secretary Daniel Tan shared SOS’s initiatives to support members and seafarers in the past two years, before and during the pandemic.  

Among the significant initiatives undertaken by SOS include the designation of The Seacare Hotel as a crew holding facility for transiting seafarers as part of safe crew change in Singapore; and helping shipping companies covered under CBA defray the cost of accommodation and meals for seafarers at The Seacare Hotel. SOS also collaborated with maritime tripartite partners to launch the SG-STAR Fund; and lobbied for the vaccination of foreign seafarers in Singapore to safeguard their livelihood.

In reviewing the union’s activities, Brother Daniel shared how SOS effectively employed digital platforms to connect with members in training, workshops and social activities, including the virtual SOS 50th Anniversary celebration last October.  

Activities, workshops and schemes spearheaded by the union’s various committees were presented to the attendees as part of the review. Some of these activities include scheme enhancement for foreign members, delivering festive goodies to home residents, and training development workshops for staff. 

The presentation also highlighted significant events and milestones achieved by the Seacare Group in the review period.  

Benefits and Welfare (BnW) Scheme 

SOS took the opportunity to introduce the “Benefits n Welfare (BnW) Scheme, a wholly revamped scheme that comprises new and enhanced benefits for qualified members.  

The BnW scheme, effective Apr 1, includes new benefits such as a Graduation Gift for members who attained a Diploma or higher certifications; and reimbursement for legal services, such as the Lasting Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive.  

The scheme also includes enhanced benefits such as Hardship Grant payout for members who are medically boarded out; and monetary increment in Life’s Happy Milestones and Hong Bao for Retired Seamen.

“We are constantly working on improving members’ professional and lifestyle needs and ensuring these benefits are relevant post-Covid,” said Brother Daniel, among the OGM panelists, who answered queries from the floor.  

SOS member Amran Matsom, currently pursuing his diploma, welcomed the scheme: “The Graduation Gift comes as a bonus and reward that encourages members to further their studies. I’m surprised by the initiative, and I thank SOS for considering members like us who continuously upgrade for career advancement and opportunities.”  

“I’m grateful for what SOS has done to support us financially in the enhanced Study Grant,” said fellow member Onn Hashim, a breadwinner with four children, adding: “It’s a great help for parents in shouldering the rising cost of children’s education, such as school fees, books and transportation.” 

Click here for more feature stories in Samudra.