By Claes Eek Thorstensen, President and CCO Thome Group
Managing and mitigating risk is a daily challenge for any business. At the Thome Group, we are very experienced in ensuring that all our operations and processes, whether in the office or at sea, have been properly thought out and meticulously planned in advance to take into account different scenarios.
However, we are now living in unprecedented times where the global coronavirus pandemic is having a major impact on every aspect of our business and personal lives.
I am pleased to report that as infection rates began to spread around the globe, we were one of the first maritime companies to take decisive action by implementing our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) so that the Group could continue to function within the limitations set by various countries around the world.
Our IT department ensured that all our office staff had the right equipment and network access so they could work efficiently at home.
Extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was sent to our vessels so that our seafarers could protect themselves against infection and various protocols were put in place to e.g. check individual crew members’ temperatures twice daily, maintain social distancing where possible and also how to implement health checks on third-party personnel before allowing them to onboard, to minimise the risk to crew’s health.
An internal pandemic committee has also been setup to address the various challenges of this dynamically changing situation with regards to the different and changing restrictions being implemented at ports, varying travel restrictions in countries around the globe, which affect crew changeovers, and keeping our seafarers’ families up to date with the latest news about their loved ones via our crewing agents.
Against this backdrop, I am pleased to report that we were able to make some crew changeovers and are working with other industry partners to get world governments to recognise crew as key workers so that they can travel unhindered to facilitate global supply chain continuity which is so vital to the world economy.
We have also managed to take over some new vessels during this pandemic and I would like to congratulate the crews that have worked tirelessly to get these vessels properly prepared in time for their official launches with sea trials and audits to confirm compliance to all the required regulations.
Without a comprehensive BCP in place none of this would have been possible and so I would like to thank each and every one of you, whether ashore or at sea, for adapting to these changes and for your continued support in maintaining our business continuity during this period of uncertainty.