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Foreign employees rewarded for contribution to Korea's shipbuilding industry

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Hewawasam Meegallalage Nalinda Kumara, front row second from left, and Chomdaeng Komkrit, front row third from left, pose with other awardees and Samsung Heavy Industries CEO and Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Association (KOSHIPA) Chairman Jung Jin-taek, front row fifth from left, during the 20th Shipbuilding and Offshore Day event at El Tower in Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of KOSHIPA

By Park Jae-hyuk

Two foreign workers received awards for their contribution to Korea's shipbuilding industry, during the celebration of the 20th Shipbuilding and Offshore Day hosted on Wednesday by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Association (KOSHIPA).

Chomdaeng Komkrit, a Thai national who has worked as a subcontracted welder at Samsung Heavy Industries' shipyard on Geoje Island in South Gyeongsang Province since 2014, was recognized for his very low error rates. He has also helped his colleagues reduce their error rates.

Hewawasam Meegallalage Nalinda Kumara, who came from Sri Lanka, was recognized for painting more than 150 ships over the past 11 years as a subcontracted worker at HD Hyundai Heavy Industries' shipyard in Ulsan. He has served over the past five years as a painting team leader who supervises eight Korean workers. In addition, he is majoring in the Korean language at Korea Polytechnics.

This is the first time that foreigners have been among the prize winners of the annual event.

The selection of the awardees was based on the assessment of their careers, capabilities, creativity and contribution to the shipbuilding industry.

KOSHIPA decided to reward foreign workers for the first time this year, as part of the shipbuilding sector's ongoing efforts to induce them to stay in Korea for a long time. Domestic shipbuilders have suffered labor shortages lately, amid Korea's declining population and the younger generation's avoidance of difficult and dangerous jobs.

The association will continue to give awards to foreigners, considering their significant roles in the nation's shipbuilding industry. The government has also eased visa rules to allow domestic shipbuilders to hire more foreign workers.

Park Jae-hyuk


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