With most of the world in lockdown and working from home now a routine practice for most, it is very important to actively ensure that normal operations of vessel are not disrupted in addition to the safety and well-being of our crew and staff and supporting them psychologically during these uncertain times.
Significant emphasis has been and is continuously being put on ensuring no compromise and/or disruption to the daily operation of the Columbia managed fleet. Our Management and Teams have carried out Risk Assessments for onboard and ashore operation and have developed Business Continuity Plans for the office, as well as relevant Contingency Plans for the vessels. To supplement the Business Continuity Plans for Office and Vessels, our Teams are also developing a dedicated database and monitoring the restrictions in various countries together with specific Marine and Technical protocols aimed to ensure that all vessels are being maintained to the usual high standard of Columbia Shipmanagement.
To supplement the lack of ship visits caused by various travel bans put in place by most countries around the world, we have implemented enhanced Technical and Marine protocols to supplement for the lack of visits. This allows for Superintendents to not just carry out a thorough verification and preparation of a vessel prior to planned third-party inspections but also allows for him/her to verify the existing maintenance programs are being carried out as per procedure. Moreover, these protocols necessitate the superintendents to call the vessel not less than 3 times per week – which also shows our full support to the on board team.
In order to further enhance the effective management of the fleet within the parameters of significant global restrictions, Columbia Shipmanagement is cooperating with a number of ship managers and ship owners in a show of solidarity as well as placing greater emphasis on localising services through Group companies, networks and partners in various geographical locations. We are pleased to advise that with the commitment of both our seafarers and shore staff, and together with the Management’s strategies and development of contingencies and business continuity plans, Columbia Shipmanagement’s daily operations and high standards of quality and safety are largely unaffected and continue to be safeguarded.
Focusing on the human element, it is very easy to lose sight of the difficulties being faced by others during these personally trying moments, especially the hardships of our seafarers at the forefront of this pandemic and realities of global restrictions. With this in mind, the Management and Staff of Columbia have been very active with a large number of well-planned and implemented initiatives to ensure vessel operations that our Columbia family members are unified and remain strong in these times of isolation and restriction. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the very positive efforts currently being actioned and implemented:
- CEO weekly video updates on developments to the Fleet and to the Shore staff
- CEO Letters to all staff and to the seafarers which included messages of solidarity, hope and guidance
- Mental Health Free/hotline services offered to all our staff and crew whether they are onboard or ashore. Several videos are now prepared to provide guidelines on how to cope with the pandemic, the lockdown and how to prepare for a return to a normal situation.
- Videos with a personal coach to demonstrate simple exercises people can practice at home or onboard to stay fit and healthy.
- Our Partner MCTC has prepared hygiene guidelines for all cooks and catering staff and other guidelines for all provision suppliers. A training webinar will be soon arranged in this respect.
- Several courses and educational material were created and published on our Columbia Shipmanagement Online Academy.
- COVID-19: Six ways to protect yourself (by WHO)
- COVID-19: Advise for Seafarers (by CSM QSHE Department)
- COVID-19: Stay Safe Campaign (COVID-19 team weekly global updates and CSM Together Parents newsletters)
- CEO Messages
- Crewing Director Weekly updates
- Coronavirus COVID-19 (external course)
- Precautions and Prevention (external course)
- Preparing for Pandemic (external course)
- Coronavirus – How to beat it (Videotel)
As of now we have over 11,000 views of these titles.
- We continue to create new educational courses jointly with other partners such as Steamship Mutual.
- We have increased our posts and connectivity with the crew onboard and ashore via our Social Learning Platform which is a new feature of our Online Academy similar to any social media platform however fully controlled and internal.
- We have posted in all our Social Media accounts, posts to encourage our crew to connect with CSM via our Social Learning Platform.
SUPPORT TO NORMAL OPERATIONS
- We have suspended all in-house classroom based trainings since 11-03-2020 and replaced them with webinars and online courses using our Online Academy.
- We have suspended all external trainings for the safety of our crew and in line with local regulations to prevent the spread of the disease and we have provided relevant guidelines to the Masters/Fleet for handling crew competency requirements.
- We have compiled a comprehensive database which includes all Flag States and Maritime Administration guidelines with regards to the extension of validity of seafarers’ STCW certificates. The database is kept frequently updated.
- We have cancelled all Crew Conferences (Senior Officers meeting) however we have replaced them with Webinars (Virtual Meetings). We have conducted our 1st Virtual Crew Conference on 1st of April 2020 which was attended by 51 Senior Officers from all around the World, the CEO and 7 other Group Directors plus other Managers.
- We are contacting and providing moral support and adapted Learning Programs to all our cadets onboard and ashore.
- We are sharing with the Fleet and the crew ashore all the best practices and guidelines from WHO, ICS, etc.
Even though it seems the world has slowed down and in many instances stopped, the Maritime Community remain very much active and resilient. We are therefore extremely proud of the strength and commitment shown by our Staff and especially our Seafarers to ensure that our day to day operations and services to our Clients continue as normal as possible until we can successfully emerge from this global crisis.
We hope that our latest update will ensure to keep you well informed of the positive efforts being made and the commitment of Columbia Shipmanagement’s leadership to our Clients, Seafarers and Staff.
Wishing You, your Families and Colleagues all the very best during this time of great concern.
Best regards and take care,