- The pandemic’s effect on businesses and personal lives are beginning to show.
- Disruption to the human lives is too much when compared to that of the shipping industry.
- Shipping industry has been forced to follow restrictions enforced for the control of the pandemic.
- Seafarers are the ones hit the most during this situation due to crew changes and shore leaves.
- Supplying vessels is another obstacle the industry must overcome.
Now that it is almost two months of monitoring and navigating through these new Coronavirus times, the pandemic’s effect on businesses and personal lives are beginning to show, writes Mr. Alexandros Danousis, DPA / HSEQ Manager at Eurobulk Ltd, for an article published in Safety4Sea.
Here’s an excerpt from that.
Disruption trivial for shipping industry
Although the disruption to the human lives that are in danger and those who have already been lost is too much when compared to that of the shipping industry.
But the importance of shipping should not be taken lightly since it directly affects the product and energy supply chain.
Restriction on Shipping industry
Shipping industry has been forced to follow restrictions enforced for the control of the pandemic.
From the ship manager’s perspective, those can be separated in two major categories: Ships operation and Office operation.
Challenges with respect to ships
With regards to ships, the challenges are identified in various aspects. First and foremost in the commercial employment of most types of vessels. Production has been hit very hard. Worldwide trade is halted, therefore shipping in its entirety is being crippled.
Additionally, the day-to-day operation of the vessels is another huge challenge that vessels are facing.
Seafarers the worst hit
Seafarers are the ones hit the most during this situation, though the ship is currently very safe due to minimum physical interaction with the outside world.
By only mentioning the catastrophic commercial effect that a case of COVID – 19 on board might have (quarantine of the vessel and crew, long off-hire periods etc.) and mainly focusing on the human factor, issues are still very important.
Crew changes and shore leaves
- Crew changes are almost impossible in most parts of the world, either due to local traveling restrictions, or due to seafarers’ home country departure and arrival restrictions.
- Shore leaves have been almost banned at the majority of worldwide ports.
Extreme mental stress
The above factors lead to extreme mental stress and fatigue to the workers of the sea. Unfortunately, we are not yet aware of the possible consequences these conditions might have on crew members.
Supplying vessels is another obstacle the industry must overcome.
Basic provisions for the survival of the crew, to stores and spare parts, the supply on board is either totally suspended or, in some cases, carried out in specific ports with extreme difficulties.
It is a great challenge for operators to keep vessels running smoothly, without being able to provide them with essential spare parts and stores.
Restricted attendances on board
Superintendent engineers and workshops attendances on board are restricted to the absolute minimum resulting in huge disruption of the technical operation of the vessels,which in turn might even risk the seaworthiness of vessels.
Major repairs schedules have also been heavily affected and Drydocks had been postponed and retrofits had been pushed back, with major financial and commercial impacts.
Office operations have also been affected significantly. Even though shipping professionals have all been used to working remotely on one occasion or another- from home,from a hotel room, a ship, or a plane- it was only carried out for short periods of time unlike what is happening now.
Despite all the problems the current situation is causing to the business, it hides a lot of opportunities for improvement, innovation and future development.
Technology can be our business’ greatest ally towards this transformation.
Today’s new needs together with the vision of pioneers can be the drive for our industry’s technological revolution. Many solutions have already been found, but the day-to-day execution and implementation is not yet universal.
Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!