A UK harbour board has put a service together to help ease the welfare of crews on lockdown waiting at anchorage outside the port.

Aberdeen Harbour Board has launched a special scheme to run during COVID-19 aimed at supporting crews.

The scheme allows vessels to book a four-hour ‘welfare visit’ slot for their vessel in the port, instead of making a full port call booking. The slot allows a vessel to stock up on essential supplies such as foodstuffs, fuel, and critical spares.

“Dues for coming into the harbour are normally paid by the company chartering the vessel,” explained the Port’s Operations Manager, John McGuigan, “and they book a full port call to allow the vessel to be loaded with cargo. During the COVID-19 crisis, however, when there is less work available, we wanted to support vessel owners and crews who are currently not on charter and to ensure their welfare throughout these unprecedented times. We are calling the scheme ‘Stow and Go’, but I guess it is a bit like booking your pick-up slot at the supermarket”.

Harbour Chief Executive, Michelle Handforth, added, “We are very conscious of the impact that the current public health crisis is having, not only on our customers but also on the vessel owners and crews who support them. While crews are in-between work they can spend significant time out at the Aberdeen anchorage – there are on average 20 vessels on any given day located there – and we were keen to make the situation as conducive as possible for those crew who, along with those keeping the port open, are essential workers, doing their bit in this crisis”.

The scheme is open to all vessels located at the anchorage and will be reviewed at the end of the lock-down period with a view to it being extended.

By Jake Frith

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