COVID-19 and Stress Onboard
Since the beginning of this year the world has been harshly impacted by the rapid spread of Corona virus (COVID-19), a novel virus that made its first appearance in the open markets of Wuhan, China. A pandemic that created a global crisis which impacted all aspects of life and badly affected the work environment.
While we are all trying to survive this new reality, the spread of the virus brought a quick impact in the shipping industry. And when it comes to seafarers, this outbreak has contributed negatively to stress and anxiety on board.
With restrictive measures being imposed from governments, new challenges have been presented to all seafarers; Many ports have placed bans on crew members going ashore. Some countries do not allow crew changes which makes the repatriating difficult, and has resulted in extended voyages.
Seafarers are likely to face frustration, emotional distress, loneliness and a sense of abandonment due to lack of proximity to their families. The general pressure to continue to carry out their work effectively and safely, create enormous psychological pressure and the fact that some areas have procurement issues, makes the situation clearly worse.
Aegean Shipping Management as a worldwide operating company, feels the responsibility to take the appropriate steps and become part in the contribution to global health, to the protection of seafarers and reduction of any potential stress on board. From the very beginning of this pandemic instructions and precautionary measures against the virus has been distributed to our fleet, as well as a Covid-19 Management Plan according to IMO regarding the outbreak of the pandemic including instructions on personal hygiene and sanitation. Information is continuously gathered from a variety of organizations like IMO, USCG, Administration of our vessels, ICS and P&I Clubs through which we strive to keep our crew informed.
It goes without saying that every day we all put our efforts on implementing safety measures and guidance for the protection of health of seafarers on board, managing to inform our crew on how to assist, handle and report suspicious symptoms onboard.
Being fully aware on the stress that can be caused to seafarers due to lack of proximity with their beloved ones, Aegean Shipping Management has offered a large amount of data for free in order to make easier the communication with their families and friends. A key point in diminishing levels of stress and anxiety onboard and boost their motivation and general well being on board is managing to keep seafarers active providing them plenty of recreational activities on board.
Since seafarers play a key role in the worldwide transportation of goods we ought to stand by them and not make them feel stranded or alienated especially during this unforeseen period.
We feel the obligation to express our gratitude to our seamen who appear to reciprocate our deep care towards them. Our seamen being totally aware of the situation keep supporting shore personnel by return: “Stay at home safe while we stay on board for you” , is one of the meaningful campaigns initiated by our vessel M/T Green Sky.
It appears that today, more than ever before, we should be calm and collected in order to support one another both ashore and on board.
We believe in acting in a responsible way and in working together on all the initiatives.
It is our firm belief that altogether we will overcome this difficult time.