Opportunities on the Horizon for Samoa Seafarers – Estimated $40M in Remittances if SSS Achieves its Goal

"It is estimated to inject close to 40 million tala through private remittances by sailors to their families here if we achieve our target of seafarer employment"

Image: Samoa Shipping Services.

After more than 40 years of partnership with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) the Samoa Shipping Services (SSC) has announced new employment opportunities for Samoan seafarers, now able to work at ‘officer level’ ranking in placings abroad.

Samoa Shipping Services (SSS) General Manager Lautimui’a Afoa Uelese Vaai confirms the employment opportunities have been advertised publicly for qualified Samoan seafarers both local and abroad who are interested, to apply.

“These golden opportunities are fundamental for our Samoan sailors to reach new heights in the seafaring profession on the international arena,” says the SSS CEO. 

There are Samoa seafarers that have attained the required qualifications at Classes 3, 2 and 1 to sustain these officer level opportunities, however, the required courses to qualify at these levels are not offered at the local School of Maritime Training at NUS.

SSS Chief Executive Lautimuia Afoa Uelese Vaai.

The call is therefore being made that going forward, it is vital for Government to make available Seafaring Scholarships in New Zealand, Australia or Fiji to ensure that Samoa has a sufficient pool of qualified seafarers at officer rank level to accommodate and sustain the opportunities the partnership with MSC has provided for our sailors.

“Our mission is to accomplish an estimate of 400 to 500 sailors to be employed on-board MSC vessels by the end of this year,” said Lautimuia.

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“The challenges presented by the pandemic are undeniable,” he says, “but the input by these overseas job opportunities to Samoa’s economic recovery is vital..

“It is estimated to inject close to 40 million tala through private remittances by sailors to their families here if we achieve our target of seafarer employment”.

The placement of the first request of employment by our business partners Mediterranean Shipping Company was put on hold in September 2020 when all cruise ships ceased operations due to COVID19.

SSS started its recruitment process in April 2021 to prepare the deployment of the first group of sailors in collaboration with Disaster Advisory Committee (DAC) and National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) to ensure all health and immigration requirements are met.  

Preparation and Planning 

Samoa Shipping Services places a lot of focus on preparedness of seafarers to travel abroad on work placements.

Some of the issues discussed with sailors and their families include:

  • Awareness of new COVID19 safety measures on-board before the commencement of employment; in addition, seeking sailors voluntarily consent.
  • Awareness of new health requirements to be met by sailors to ensure safety from COVID19 when travel; and being fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine is a must.
  • Process immigration and health requirements for port of transits to avoid being stranded and ensure timely arrival in ports of embarkation.
  • Sailors to travel in groups depending on available flights.

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The following table highlights the number of sailors travelled from June to October 2021 for employment:

Months (2021)Number of Sailors Travelled
June 39
Sailors on Cruise Ships265
Sailors on Cargo Vessels33
TOTAL NUMBER OF SAILORS ON-BOARD TO DATE + 1 engaged sailor who has been overseas since lockdown began298
Number of New Employment (Jun-Oct 2021)68