I am a master mariner AVI and AFNI and a current Nautilus member. I have been employed in the maritime industry for almost 40 years, and for 20 years I have been a marine consultant/surveyor. Recently, I was contacted by a company based in mainland Europe who requested my services to conduct a loadout survey on a vessel in port in NE Scotland.
As I am a self-employed limited company, I considered it prudent and responsible to draft what I thought were fairly standard safety procedures against Covid-19, based on national and international guidance, for the protection of all involved in a loadout survey. I sent a copy of this document to the company engaging my services and requested that this be sent to their client and/or the vessel so that we could be prepared for the survey and take the precautions required. Within minutes, I was called and asked why I was sending out such a document.
I was told that I could not make contact with their client under my own company logo, nor could I contact the ship and make 'demands' on how they conduct their business. I was also told that we could not expect them to have a risk assessment in place. I challenged all of this and suggested that my document could be used by them on their own company notehead to make clear how they wanted to conduct their business and protect their employees, associates and contractors against Covid-19. I was then told this would be ‘impossible’ and that it was not my place to dictate to their clients or their ships how we conduct our business. They said they would consider my memo and call back later. Instead, I received an email from them advising that I was no longer required for the survey.
In a career of almost 40 years as a seafarer or surveyor, I have never before been removed from a job. Especially for what I perceived to be a responsible and appropriate attitude to safety, and one that could have highlighted and enhanced this company’s status and reputation for their own attitude to safety and their personnel.
It is clear to me that, despite this situation around Covid-19, this company has little regard for the control of this pandemic and only has their commercial interest as a priority. I question their entire ethic and culture around safety and welfare of their personnel. I would be keen to hear other Nautilus members’ thoughts on this.