This time of the year is always a good opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for a new start. Our special column Industry Voices: ‘Goodbye 2020, hello 2021’ aims to provide an overview of this challenging year and set new targets for 2021 to move forward.
In this context, we have asked Mrs Lena Dyring, Director, Cruise Operations at Norwegian Seafarers’ Union, to make an assessment of 2020 from her perspective and share her message for the new year across the global community. Among others, she highlights there is urgent need for the industry to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to seafarers as soon as possible.
We have to keep working, and work even harder to secure the rights of seafarers as the world (hopefully) resumes to a more normal situation.
SAFETY4SEA: Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry development(s) within 2020?
Lena Dyring: I think the most important development has been the close collaboration we have had between the different stakeholders. We have been working towards a common goal of getting seafarers who are stuck at sea home and the seafarers who are waiting at home, back to work. The process has been rough and many seafarers have waited far too long though, various government restrictions have caused a lot of harm to a lot of people.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2021?
L.D.: I think it will be extremely important to maintain and improve seafarers’ working conditions despite many employers being under a lot of financial pressure. I also think that one of the challenges we have is to keep improving the gender balance. Many of the seafarers who lost their jobs in this pandemic were those working on passenger and cruise vessels and this industry has come to a complete halt. This is also where most female seafarers work so they have been disproportionally hit by unemployment.
S4S: What would be the 2021 resolutions for your company/organisation?
L.D.: It’s difficult to pick one thing. We have to keep working, and work even harder to secure the rights of seafarers as the world (hopefully) resumes to a more normal situation. We also have to learn from what happened in 2020 so that something like this does not happen again. We need to establish all seafarers as key workers so they can travel with less restrictions to keep the industry and the world running, even during a pandemic.
S4S: What is your overall forecast for shipping industry in 2021 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?
L.D.: My “guesstimate” is that we will see a more normal travel situation in the second half of 2021 and a lot of pent up travel demand at that time. We also see the contours of a very unfair distribution of covid vaccines in this world so I would like to ask the stakeholders to do everything they can to make the covid vaccine available to seafarers as soon as possible, regardless of which country they happen to live in.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.