- Wilhelmsen Ship Management shares proactive measures done to ensure uninterrupted operability of their fleet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wilhelmsen group have implemented a number of operational adjustments to secure the well-being of their employees and crew in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Additional measures have been implemented on pre-joining procedures to detect and prevent any infected crew from joining onboard vessels.
Health screening and travel declaration measures has been imposed to all crew prior to joining.
The Wilhelmsen group have issued guidelines on practical protection against infection.
Though measures have been put in place to prevent an infected crew onboard, these guidelines will serve as precautionary measures.
Crew are encouraged to practice good personal hygiene habits, usage of personal protective equipment, maintain environmental hygiene and proper food preparation.
Handling of COVID-19 onboard
If there is any confirmed or suspected cases onboard, contingency plans will be activated and defined steps shall be taken until further instructions from authorities of the next port of call.
The Wilhelmsen group have also initiated communication and onboard drills for handling of COVID-19 onboard.
When calling in affected port, crew must take precautionary measures to protect themselves.
Crew are familiarized with the safety guidelines focusing on safety measures to be taken prior to calling, during stay and after departure.
The Wilhelmsen group have heightened communication frequency with their vessels through port updates and safety bulletins.
It is essential to keep the crew updated on the latest progress of the outbreak situation and measures for protection.
Crew change and shore leave
Some countries/cities have implemented lock-down to contain the viral spread. This has had a major impact on future crew changes.
As a result crew change and shore leave have been differed for the time being. They are proactively evaluating the situation to ensure that the crew can be relieved as soon as possible.
Initiatives are implemented to enable crew to increase their interaction time with their family.
The mental health awareness has been heightened extending further support from shore by having frequent casual discussions with crew to address the concerns surrounding the progress of the pandemic.
Once crew change is possible, additional measures will be enforced to allow contact tracing as recommended by WHO.
During crew sign off, measures will be implemented to enable contact tracing should this be necessary.
With the global travel restrictions in place, inspectors and auditors from class societies are unable to go onboard to carry out surveys. This means due certifications are unable to be renewed in time and flagstate dispensations must be done to ensure validity of the certifications.
The Wilhelmsen group is following closely with flagstate requirements to align our mitigation plans if travel restrictions continue beyond dispensation time frame.
Disruption in supply chain
The main challenges faced are limited availability of air cargo, service engineers, delivery and logistics options. This could mean longer delivery time for ships to receive their spares and stores.
They have increased our vigilance to ensure ships will not be exposed to the risk of spares and stores shortages.
Some of us are operating from home as required by local government recommendations.
The affected offices will be operating under their business continuity plan to ensure continuity of services. This arrangement will continue until further notice.
Stepping up cyber security
Working from home as securely as possible during the pandemic is high on our agenda.
They have stepped up our cyber security initiatives and communicated the guidelines to all employees. Employees are reminded to stay vigiliant as we expect an increase in fraud attempts.
Response to impact
The impact of this pandemic is expected to be felt throughout the industry, although differently for different stakeholders.
They are proactively doing scenario planning and adjustments in our systems and processes to accommodate the anticipated changes.
The Wilhelmsen group conclude, “As we work closely with global and national authorities to ensure our service delivery to you remains uninterrupted, we will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our efforts.”
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Source: Wilhelmsen Ship Management