The maritime industry remains active during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in a bid to ensure the future of the industry.

Safety is a major concern and the British Safety Council has backed a joint statement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the CBI and the TUC calling for employers to enable safe working conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) is part of a COVID-19 Industry Group which has collaborated with the IMO, WHO and ILO to develop a preliminary list of recommendations for Governments and national authorities on thefacilitation of maritime trade during the pandemic. The initial recommendations cover providing access to berths in ports, measures to facilitate crew changes in ports, measures to facilitate port (and related) operations and measures to ensure health protection in ports.

Philippines-headquartered CF Sharp Crew Management has repatriated almost 1,000 seafarers from postings around the globe and has suspended crew deployments until further notice.

Flow of goods

Keeping the industry  operational is also important. IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim has asked the United Nations system agencies to support IMO in its request to governments to declare seafarers, port personnel and other crucial maritime workers as key personnel and reiterated his message that shipping is a vital artery for the economy to enable the global supply chain.

HamiltonJet is now using its regional facilities in New Zealand, Asia, the Amercias and Europe to pick, pack and ship spare parts to essential businesses. The waterjet specialist is providing support to the New Zealand Defence Force, Singapore Police Coast Guard, US Navy and the UK Border Force as well as 3D printing parts for face masks in NZ.

Ocean Safety is continuing to service liferafts, the commercial shipping fleet  and the leisure fleet. It is also still supplying equipment.

The Port of Antwerp in Belgium continues to operate as normal, however economic impact on the port is getting more and more difficult to forecast, given the uncertainty about how consumer confidence and industrial activity will return and what the effect on the logistics chain will be.

Operational support

The UK Chamber of Shipping has called for immediate support from the UK government to ensure freight continues to flow into the country. Chief Executive Bob Sanguinetti said unless ferry companies get access to the government financial packages now there is likely to be a further reduction of services  or companies going out of business.

Sea Europe has urged the European Commission to adopt tailor-made sectoral policies and financial measures, including state aid, to safeguard the survival of Europe’s strategic maritime technology industry. Without this, it said, there is a big risk for Europe to lose the remaining part of its strategic maritime technology sector to Asia.

Renewables

ONYX InSight is calling on O&M professionals across the wind industry to openly discuss pressures on purchasing and procurement programmes to help reduce the escalating wind turbine parts, labour and supply chain bottlenecks that are a consequence of COVID-19. The market must also look to mitigate future power shortfall risks, said the company.

A coalition of membership bodies in the renewable energy sector, including RenewableUK, have issued a joint statement pleading for support for member association events in 2020 to enable reinvestment directly in the energy sector.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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