Spotlight: Navigating Through a Pandemic

 

Our crew at sea are extraordinary people who play an essential role in maintaining the flow of energy and vital commodities across world markets. The pandemic has increased uncertainties and difficulties around port access, supply, crew changeovers and repatriation. As our lives continue to be touched by the global pandemic, the safety and wellbeing of our crew needs our focus, now more than ever.

Safety Measures

All crew members were given priority and provided with masks and other personal protective equipment (“PPE”) as we actively procured and delivered these supplies in the face of ongoing global shortages and port lockdowns. Further, we implemented measures to protect the safety and well-being of our crew, such as restricting the number of shore visitors allowed onboard and ensuring we have isolation plans to manage suspected COVID-19 cases amongst crew. All new crew members undergo testing as well as 14-days of isolation prior to boarding.

Clear and Frequent Communications

For crew who were onboard vessels when crew changes came to a halt from March to May because of the closure of international borders, we actively engaged and kept them abreast of the latest guidelines and advisories issued by local health ministries and government authorities. The crew were briefed on revised safety procedures and were provided with transparent and daily updates on the situation.

Supporting Crew Through Pandemic

Emotional and Mental Support

The inability to dock and conduct crew changes meant that crew could not return home to their families, increasing possible mental and emotional strain. Unlimited high-speed internet access was provided to the crew to reach out to their families, and a dedicated emotional helpline – the BW Seafarer Assistance – was established to provide round-theclock confidential emotional support to the crew. The BW Seafarer Assistance is operated by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), an international NGO and charity that promotes the welfare of seafarers worldwide.

The frequency of the courses and activities in our ‘BW LPG Wellness Program’ was also increased. Since 2017, the BW LPG Wellness Program aims to tackle various aspects of health holistically, by increasing the engagement, mental resilience, physical fitness and socialisation of crew through an online platform. Courses and sessions included meditation exercises, activities of exercise and mental health, managing stress, gratitude journals, amongst others. The platform encourages fun through gamification and enables colleagues to challenge each other individually, and even across ships. The program celebrates small wins, which can be accomplished with reasonable effort and allows positive feelings of success to power a virtuous cycle of being well at sea. BW LPG uses crew feedback to continuously improve on our support programs.

Appreciation for our Crew

Despite challenging circumstances and additional costs, BW LPG is committed to conducting crew changes wherever possible. We are proud to report that approximately 2,000 crew changes were done, and we had minimal contract overruns. Seafarers whose contracts exceeded their termination dates were compensated for additional time onboard and a further special extended voyage bonus was given. Crew members who were unable to board vessels received standby salaries.

We are far from being out of the woods yet. BW LPG continues to monitor the situation and adapts accordingly as the situation develops.