Thriving Communities

SPO actively supports local communities in countries where we have a major presence and invests in education and talent development in these key stakeholder communities. Our support for local communities focuses on six key areas including Education, Community, Health, Youth, Environment and Biodiversity.To learn more about our work with the communities in which we operate, please refer to the Communities section (To click to the SD Report) of our Sustainable Development reports.

Investment in Education

SPO believes that the long term value creation depends on the sustainable development of the company and giving back to local communities in which SPO operates its businesses. The company invests in education and talent development by providing scholarships and partnering with key stakeholder communities around the world on corporate philanthropic projects.
SPO has been a long time sponsor of the MaritimeONE scholarship programme administered by the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF). Upon graduation, these scholars are given the opportunity to join SPO and undergo our Management Trainee (MT) programme. During this programme, they are rotated through different departments in SPO’s Head Office and are mentored by senior leaders in the Company. The programme aims to accelerate the professional development of the young professionals by imparting them with business knowledge while deepening their cross-cultural understanding.

Maritime ONE Scholarship recipients, Jamie Chng and Willis Ng, with General Manager,
Sustainable Development, Simon Bennett. Both Jamie and Willis joined SPO’s Management Trainee programme upon graduation and have now taken on full time roles in the company.

Nurturing and supporting communities in the Philippines

Philippines is one of SPO’s stakeholders’ communities as a large proportion of our seafarers come from the country. SPO has a manning agency, Anscor Swire Ship Management (ASSM) that is based in the Philippines. In order to provide strong support to the dependents of our seafarers employed by ASSM, the Anscor Swire Ship Management Dependents Association (ASSMDA) was formed in 2007 as an independent and not-for-profit organisation.

Headquartered in Manila with two smaller branches in Cebu and Iloilo, ASSMDA serves as a support network for SPO’s seafarers’ wives and dependents in the country and works closely with the local communities on educational, social and civic projects. SPO supports ASSMDA through jointly funding their monthly operating costs with our sister company, The China Navigation Company (CNCo). ASSMDA provides voluntary assistance to the seafarers’ families in times of need and aims to improve their livelihoods through organising value-added social activities and community projects.

ASSMDA members at the outreach programme with the Starfish LEAF.

Partnership with the Biosphere Foundation

From 2013 - 2016, SPO supported the Biosphere Foundation to conduct a study titled, “The Indian Ocean Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Project” in Sri Lanka. The three-year study looked at ways to preserve the population of previously little known, but endangered pygmy blue whales amongst other species and to enhance eco-tourism in Sri Lanka. The research also aimed to establish baseline figures for marine mammal and cetacean populations off the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The rigorous data-supported recommendations provided the Sri Lankan marine and international authorities the evidence to support moving the IMO Traffic Separation Scheme off ‘Dondra Head’ southwards by 10-15 miles. If accepted, it will help reduce the number of ship-strikes and whale-kills by 95%.

Partnership with Endangered Species International (ESI)

SPO partners the Endangered Species International (ESI) in South Mindanao in the Philippines on mangrove and coastal reef conservation and to protect the endangered Philippine forest turtles. Under this partnership, SPO sponsors our Filipino seafarers who work as unpaid volunteers in the field alongside the ESI on various conservation and community engagement activities. SPO organised a number of field trips to both the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape and Sarangani Bay area downstream of this.

Some of SPO's seafarers who volunteered for the project. 

Corporate Volunteering

SPO regularly organises corporate volunteering events for employees to be involved in to help local communities and care for the environment. On 5 December 2017, more than 30 volunteers from SPO and members of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) shed their professional work roles and turned into muralists for a good cause. With the help of Singapore Central District, SPO partnered a local charity, Lions Befrienders, to paint four colourful murals for the Seniors Activity Centre located in Bendemeer in Singapore, which serves as a focal gathering place for elderly folks in the neighbourhood.

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SPO employees all smiles while painting colourful murals at the Lions Befrienders' Seniors Activity Centre, a community outreach programme held in conjunction with SPO's anniversary.

To make the event more memorable, SPO engaged our long-term community partner, Project Dignity to set up a mobile fruit rojak-making booth. Volunteers mingled with the elderly residents and assisted them in the rojak-making session. Many elderly residents also joined in the fun by cutting vegetables and fruits and mixing them with the sauces. The fruit salad turned out to be a real “hit” as many of them asked for second helpings.

Assisting seafarers

In 2013, SPO and CNCo’s shore and sea-going employees pledged large amounts of donations to help victims of the catastrophic typhoon, Typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines. The remaining funds were managed by ASSM Dependants Association (ASSMDA) and it was agreed that the funds should be used to provide long-term, physical, community support through the establishment of Seafarers Drop-in Medical Centres in the region. Over 18 months in 2016 and 2017, ASSMDA worked closely with Sailors’ Society, Habitat for Humanity, the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and the local Barangay Mayors and their health authority leaders to bring this plan to fruition.

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ASSMDA members at the official opening of two Seafarers Drop-in Medical Centres 

In late June 2017, all parties involved graced the official opening of these two Seafarers Drop-in Medical Centres; one in Palo near Tacloban in Leyte province and the other on Bantayan Island in Cebu province. The centre in Palo includes a birthing facility and will benefit approximately 1,000 households whilst its counterpart in Bantayan, will help almost 7,000 local families.
As part of the opening ceremony, key representatives of AMOSUP, ASSMDA, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Sailors’ Society, SPO and CNCo handed over a bible, candle and ceremonial key to the Barangay Captains, Municipal Mayors, Municipal Health Officers and Midwives.