BW Maritime

Strange and Unprecedented Times

Across Affiliates, BW continues to keep propellers turning to deliver energy and other vital commodities to world markets

These are strange and unprecedented times, which future generations will read about in the history books. Pandemics have occurred before, markets have dropped before, oil prices have collapsed before.  But never have entire countries and continents shut down so completely.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate headlines globally and new measures being implemented almost daily by governments worldwide. 

Colleagues on shore are also working hard to keep the business going despite many having to work from home, manage children out of school and deal with concerns about older family members. Everyone is having to adjust their life and work schedule, but none are more impacted than our seafarers. World Horizon shines the spotlight on the heroes of our times – our seafarers who continue to keep our vessels moving despite uncertainties about their ability to travel and when they will next see their families.

Above: Using international code flags to spell out COVID-19, with their ship motto:
“COVID-19 stays at Base, Zero Harm in our Space”

Keeping morale high and spirits up

Captain Choudhry is one of six officers onboard LNG carrier BW Pavilion Vanda, who have exceeded their tenures due to the temporary cessation of crew changes. When asked how crew are coping with disruptions to routine, he says, “It would have been nice to be with our families during these hard times but we do understand the situation and the initial disappointment has been replaced by a sense of pride in playing a critical role in keeping the global supply chain running.  Safety, welfare and discipline together with the focus on mental health is now even more important. Welfare initiatives from the company have been well received by all onboard and morale is high. We continue to plan social activities and add some harmless humor to our daily activities to keep our spirits high”.

Captain Subong onboard LNG Enugu is also keeping morale high, while ensuring vessels continue to a safe, if not the safest place to be, considering the limited exposure of the vessel to the outside world, and the control vessels put in place by most ports and terminals.

Says Captain Subong, “the BW COVID-19 Guidelines and Outbreak Management Plan is a good tool to help us minimize risk of exposure in a systematic manner. We have implemented all safety measures required of us onboard, which include limiting access to external visitors and keeping a safe distance from them; Bridge team and gangway escort teams to wear masks, safety glasses and rubber gloves during pilotage; while alongside, paperwork is done close to the manifold area with minimum representatives from both ship and shore for minimal interaction; and twice-daily temperature checks”. 

Any way is a good way to manage stress and anxiety

When asked how best to manage the stress and anxiety facing all seafarers, Captain Choudhry says, “Stay positive and be resilient. This too shall pass. For all those ashore - please drop anchor at home and stay put. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Adds Captain Subong, “to my fellow seafarers who are onboard, let us all safeguard our wellbeing by complying with the guidelines from our company and port and terminal regulations with regards to COVID-19 precautions. For those who are at home right now, please follow the directives of your local and national government in stopping, if not, preventing the spread of the virus. We must not let our guard down as we are facing an invisible enemy”. 
Even though COVID-19 is a serious matter, it may be helpful to keep the pandemic in perspective – that as with all earlier challenges, we will overcome this one with some global collaboration and human ingenuity. For over 85 years, we have been delivering energy to world markets. And over the years, we have seen many challenging moments – economic downturns, financial crises, world wars, and each time, we have come out stronger and more prepared to manage operational difficulties. 

As borders close and people urged to stay home, there are extraordinary people who put themselves at risk – medical professionals who continue to care for the sick; and our crew at sea – maritime professionals who keep propellers turning so that energy and other vital commodities can continue to reach communities at a time where, more than ever, energy is needed to power vital infrastructure.