“Thank you, Sir, for your support since Day 1!”  At the TNTA 10th AnniversaryCelebrations on 18 June 2019, Third Officer Raja Asyraf presented Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung with a memento - a framed photograph of Mr Ong pinning an epaulette on his cadet uniform at the start of training in 2012. Mr Ong is flanked by Ms Mary Liew, General Secretary, SMOU, and Asyraf.


A co-op helps him do just that.


Growing up, Raja Muhamad Asyraf heard abah (his father) recount his seafaring experience. There were photographs too which spoke even more.


The boy grew fascinated with the sea, and he applied for Nautical Studies after his ‘O’ Levels. 


However, his dream was dashed when he could not meet the course pre-requisites. He graduated instead with a diploma in Bio Technology and was offered a laboratory assistant job.


Somewhere along the road, all this time still thinking about the sea, a friend told him about the Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) programme that enables Singaporeans to be trained as Certificate of Competency (CoC) Class 3 deck officers in the maritime industry. 


TNTA is a flagship programme of the Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI), a subsidiary of the Wavelink Co-operative and the maritime training arm of Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU).

Today, Asyraf is a Third Officer with Maersk Tankers and getting closer to his dreams of becoming a Captain.


Wavelink Co-operative Ltd was jointly founded by the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on 29 June 2000 as part of a greater shared vision to venture into new frontiers and business opportunities as well as provide social benefits to its members.


The Wavelink Co-operative established Wavelink Maritime Institute in 2007. Besides TNTA, Wavelink Maritime Institute offers the Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA) programme for ship engineers and short courses for the maritime industry.



This article was first published in the SNCF Commemorative Book, Singapore Co-operatives Singapore Stories in 2019 in conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial.