Dutch shipping company Vroon is extending its recently imposed suspension of crew changes on its vessels, citing the impact of the coronavirus.
In a public letter addressed to colleagues, friends, and families, Vroon CEO Herman Marks said: "Every day, the Corona (Covid-19) virus imposes new challenges on all of us at Vroon, but also on colleagues and families at home. We have seen the airline industry virtually cease operations worldwide. Restrictions in many ports and countries are making it difficult or even impossible to disembark or embark colleagues."
"Consequently, we were forced to suspend crew changes from 16 March, for an initial period of two weeks. I regret to inform you that we now have to extend this period for a further two weeks, until 15 April 2020."
He advised Vroon crew to contact their Crewing Officers/Departments directly for further info, "as arrangements and possibilities may change as we go forward, also depending on local situations."
According to data on Vroon's website, the company operates more than 150 vessels. Most of these are offshore support vessels, but the company also owns livestock carriers, dry-cargo vessels, container vessels, product tankers, high-heat tankers, and car carriers.
Addressing Vroon's crews, Marks said: "I want you to know that we are extremely proud and grateful that you are keeping our vessels safe and operational in these dire times. In this way, we can continue transporting goods around the world and delivering services to our clients. While your work has often been taken for granted, more and more people are realizing that seafarers and their ships form an essential part of the global supply chain," he said.
He acknowledged that the situation had a great impact on the offshore employees' plans, and their families at home, adding that the company has boosted wifi plans so the offshore crews can stay in touch in families.
"I would like to advise you that we have increased the Wi-Fi data allowance on board so you can stay connected with your families ashore. I would also like all families and loved ones to know that we are doing our utmost possible to take care of the well-being and health of your relatives on board."
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