Right now, the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has become an international problem. It is happening because Covid-19 pandemic not only happens in one country but also happens in almost all countries.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stresses vital need to maintain commerce by sea and protect seafarers’ welfare in the face of coronavirus shut down. The coronavirus pandemic has an impact on the shipping industry and the global supply chain. Somehow, the sea is a strategic trade route. There are a lot of economic activities that happened in the sea.
The spread of the coronavirus has placed the entire world in an unprecedented situation. To slow the spread of the disease and mitigate its impacts, travel is being curtailed and borders are being closed. Transport hubs are being affected. Ports are being closed and ships denied entry.
This pandemic not only give impact on Indonesia’s economic growth, but also give impact on Indonesia’s image in the international world. Indonesia has to change to make a safe sea for all.
Moreover, tackling Covid-19 insuperable by only one person, but all of us have to do the teamwork to resolve this problem. Because of that, we have to improve cooperation, collaboration, coordination, and deconfliction by mutual trust and respect each other, because we face the same threat.
Salomo R. Damanik in Media Indonesia entitled ‘Anticipatory-Innovative Policy Handling Covid-19’ argues, to handling Covid-19 is the unity of action that was born from a comprehensive strategic policy. This policy must address the current conditions and anticipate their impact later.
First, policies that strengthen the availability and reliability of the Covid-19 handling infrastructure. Second, the policy to conduct education about the dangers of co-19 for the entire community, especially the lower middle class. Third, the national policy to mobilize the industry to participate in facing Covid-19.
Especially on the third policy, Salomo said, the involvement of the national industry was done by asking them to temporarily mass-produce Covid-19 prevention, inspection, and handling equipment. Such efforts are directed at meeting the availability of masks, sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and food for those who are vulnerable to these primary needs.
As in the same thought, Coronavirus Mitigation Task Force Chief Doni Monardo invited the Ministry of Industry to encourage domestic industries to produce PPE, masks, hand sanitizers, and other needs in dealing with the corona pandemic. Doni said, if the industry was deployed there would be no need for imports of these products. All industries that have the potential to support the handling of Covid-19 will be optimized.
Ship Still Sails
Back to statements Kitack Lim, in these difficult times, the ability for shipping services and seafarers to deliver vital goods, including medical supplies and foodstuffs, will be central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, this pandemic.
It is, therefore, crucially important that the flow of commerce by sea should not be unnecessarily disrupted. At the same time, the safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment must also remain paramount.
In principle, defeating the virus must be the priority, but global trade, in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner must be able to continue, too.
The hundreds of thousands of seafarers on ships, unwittingly, on the front line of this global calamity. Their professionalism ensures that the goods we all need are delivered—safely and with minimal impact on our precious environment.
These are people, usually far from home and family. Their health and welfare are as important as that of anyone else.
Therefore, each institution must pay attention to issues like crew changeovers, resupply, repairs, survey and certification and licensing of seafarers, abiding by practical advice and guidance on a variety of technical and operational matters related to the coronavirus.
This article has been published by Maritime Observer.