Forum: Have inter-faith blessing ceremony for newly delivered S’pore-registered ships

Seafarers of different races and religions working on board a ship for months are bound to face challenges.

Fortunately, many shipping-related non-profit organisations, unions and shipowners have been actively promoting cross-cultural awareness through the formal courses and training programmes approved by the International Maritime Organisation.

To foster racial and religious harmony on board a then newly delivered Singapore-registered vessel, the ship owner I was working for in 2009 decided to follow the Republic of Singapore Navy's practice of blessing ships during its naming and launching ceremony.

So, with the support of the Inter-Religious Organisation of Singapore, we had a prayer and blessings group perform a ceremony featuring inter-religious prayers during the ship-naming event in Singapore.

The message of racial and religious harmony was clearly embedded and appreciated, not only by the crew serving on board, but also by the seafarer community at the time.

Could the relevant authorities in Singapore encourage this best practice among newly delivered ships under the Singapore flag in the future?

This way, we can promote Singapore's beliefs in racial and religious harmony to Singapore-registered vessels, too.

I believe most seafarers in the world who have been to Singapore will acknowledge that this maritime nation is one of the top role models in the world in managing race and religion issues.

We should be proud to promote the "Singapore brand" of racial and religious harmony to the world.

Kuet Ee Yoon

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