Samoa Shipping Services employment numbers soars

APIA, 06 AUGUST 2018 (SAMOA GOVT) – Without a lot of fanfare, the Samoa Shipping Services, (SSS) is turning heads on international waters with success stories from local seafarers employed on cruise ships, cargo and fishing vessels.

As of 31 July 2018, the total number of ‘active’ seafarers registered and engaged for employment contracts under the SSS umbrella is 503.

It’s a new record and benchmark which the SSS Chief Executive Lautimuia Afoa Uelese Vaai wants to sustain and improve in the coming years.

With an estimated annual remittances averaging $14 million tala a year from the seafarers wages, it’s a huge contribution to Samoa’s Gross Domestic Product and Foreign Reserves and a daunting task for Lautimuia and his SSS crew to maintain.

“It’s a competitive industry and aggressive market competing against seafarers from mega powers in Asia, Europe and the Americas so we have to ensure that our seafarers are well trained, disciplined and fully qualified,” says Lautimuia.

“Our major strength is the marketability of our local seafarers mainly because of their natural physical abilities.”

But he noted that one of the major thorns is “discipline” citing–alcohol related incidents as one of the cause for unnecessary termination of local sailors employment which undermines the SSS efforts and reputation in overseas markets.

In the meantime SSS is not resting on its laurels, as they continue to seek “new partnerships with global shipping companies to secure new employment opportunities for Samoan seafarers.

“We do this through building on current networks and aggressive marketing in annual global shipping events such as cruise/cargo ships tradeshows, etc,” elaborate the SSS Chief.

The Samoan seafarers program started back in the early 1980’s initial training crews for  the Forum Samoa I and Forum Samoa II.

But in recent years, Government has invested millions into the program with the creation of a training institute for Samoan sailors under the umbrella of the National University of Samoa.  And the employment numbers have since grown slowly bur surely.

“But there is always room for improvements,” Lautimuia was quick to add. “At the end of the day, it’s all about playing our part in the government employment strategy and also contributing to our local economy and foreign reserves.”

  • Seafarers on-board cruise ships 243
  • Seafarers on-board cargo ships 75
  • Seafarers on-board fishing ships 3
  • Seafarers confirmed for engagement 60
  • Seafarers on-leave 42
  • New graduates/seafarers awaiting engagement 80

Contracts for engagement is 9 months with the option to extend for an extra 1 month if the seafarer requests.

Approval for such extensions is based purely on performance. After completion of the contract term, seafarers normally take leave for not more than 2 months before they are re-engaged for another contract.

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