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Canadian marine shipping sector protects front-line workers 


Ottawa, ON — The marine industry is rising to meet the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by banding together to create a mutually agreed standard of protocols to protect marine workers.

The Chamber of Marine Commerce has developed the Marine Industry Trusted Partners for COVID-19 initiative with its Canadian ship operator members to help assure ship owners, governments and other stakeholders (including the public) that a mutually-agreed standard of protection, with supporting protocols, is being followed by each Partner during ship-shore interactions.

The initiative is open to any company or organization to join that may be involved with ship-shore interactions in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, East Coast and Arctic – and has already attracted the participation of ship inspectors, tug operators, and Canadian pilotage authorities and received a supportive message from The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

“ABS is pleased to join the Chamber of Marine Commerce’s Trusted Partners Initiative as we work to ensure our people can safely continue their important role in certifying ships that move commerce, which supports the pandemic response in both Canada and the United States,” said Arinjit Roy, ABS Vice President of North America Business Development.

The initiative will help to facilitate essential ship-shore interactions, which are required for safe operations, by minimizing the need for additional screening between Trusted Partners. However, it does not prevent any organization from taking further measures to protect their employees where the need arises.

“Marine shipping is recognized by governments as an essential service that is vital to keeping supply chains operating in Canada and the United States,” said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “Everyone wants to get home safely and be confident their job does not put their families and loved ones at risk. While firms are taking steps to protect their employees, not all organizations are aware of each other’s measures.  This initiative opens up the channels of communication and helps reassure participating partners and the public that we’re all on the same page when it comes to COVID-19 safety.”

Ship-shore interactions are currently minimized and shore leave for crews is restricted. CMC shipowner members have also collaborated and implemented an extensive set of Best Practices for protecting their own employees.  But to maintain safe operations, ship owners still need to have workers come on and off their ships for critical tasks that cannot be done remotely. These personnel include inspectors, marine pilots, equipment and maintenance specialists.  Ship crews also need to safely interact with ports and terminals during loading and unloading, and crew changes.

“The Laurentian Pilotage Authority (LPA) is proud to join the Trusted Partners Initiative of the Chamber of Marine Commerce,” added Fulvio Fracassi, Chief Executive Officer, of the LPA. “This key initiative will help promote the use of good sanitary practices to protect the health of essential workers, including ship crews and pilots while ensuring the maintenance of marine shipping activities that are vital to keeping supply chains operating in Canada.”