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Speech for Second Reading of The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Amendment) Bill

25 Mar 2020 Speeches

1.     Mr Speaker Sir, I beg to move, “That the Bill be now read a second time.”

Overview

2.     The Bill amends the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act to:

a.     Enable Singapore to give effect to the 2018 amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention; and,

b.     Provide a statutory basis for an approved financial security provider who has paid a seafarer for certain liabilities owed by a shipowner to the seafarer, to acquire the seafarer’s rights against the shipowner in respect of the liabilities. 

Key Provisions of the Bill

3.     Let me highlight the key provisions of the Bill.

Enhancement in Employment Protection for Seafarers in Captivity

4.     First, Clauses 3 to 5 amend the Act to enhance employment protection for seafarers in captivity. Should a seafarer be held captive on or off a ship as a result of an act of piracy or armed robbery against the ship, the seafarer’s employment agreement continues to have effect during the period of captivity. This is regardless of whether the date fixed for the expiry of the seafarer’s employment agreement has passed or either party to the seafarer’s employment agreement has given notice to suspend or terminate it. 

5.     Further, a captive seafarer’s wages and entitlements must continue to be paid during the period of captivity, until the day the seafarer is released and duly repatriated, or until the seafarer’s death while in captivity. The seafarer’s employer is also obligated to repatriate the seafarer upon release from captivity. 

Acquisition of Seafarer’s Rights by Approved Financial Security Provider

6.     Besides enhancing employment protection for seafarers in captivity, we are making another amendment to facilitate the acquisition of a seafarer’s rights by an approved financial security provider which provides insurance or other financial security required under the Act to shipowners. Clause 6 facilitates the transfer to and vesting in the financial security provider of a seafarer’s rights against a shipowner as a result of any liability arising from the shipowner’s obligation to repatriate the seafarer (for example, the liability to pay the seafarer’s wages and entitlements). It amends the Act to provide a statutory basis for the financial security provider to acquire such rights if the provider has paid the seafarer under a contract of insurance or other financial security for such liability.

Conclusion

7.     To conclude, the provisions in this Bill will help protect seafarers’ welfare and enhance Singapore’s international reputation as a responsible maritime nation. 

8.     Mr Speaker Sir, I beg to move.