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Webinar brings Bridge to Boardroom
Team Sea and Coast | 24/07/2020
24 th July 2020, UAE: When TMS held the latest in its Covid-19: A Leadership Perspective webinar on
Wednesday 22nd July it tried something new and bold, for the first time giving a voice to seafarers during
the current pandemic. Over the past few months the plight of the world’s seafarers, many of whom have
faced extended periods at sea, has been a common theme of the TMS Webinar series, but the ‘Live from
Boardroom to Bridge’ Webinar gave a global audience of over 800 a chance to hear direct from the front
line.
Four distinguished and experienced captains, Capt. Kiran Krishnaji Joshi, on The Shipping Corporation of
India’s Desh Vibhor was joined by Capt. Roman Morgun, onboard Tomini Shipping’s Tomini Dynasty; and
Captain Wael Fares and Captain Marcel Leon Aranha, on KOTC’s Gas Al Mubarakiah and Bubyan
respectively. Also taking part in the Webinar was the chairperson and managing director of The Shipping
Corporation of India (SCI), Mrs HK Joshi, Tomini Group’s Chairman, Imtiaz Shaikh, and Kuwait Oil Tanker
Company’s CEO, Ali Shehab.
Before the Webinar got under way, one of the leading figures in the regional maritime sector, Captain
Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports gave a cameo presentation in which
he praised the contribution of seafarers and expressed heartfelt thanks for their contribution. “Over the
past six months, the coronavirus pandemic has given us the opportunity to take pause and consider the
 
remarkable work of the world’s 1.6 million seafarers,” he said. “Throughout the crisis, and amid the
challenges, their efforts have ensured that the global supply chain can keep the flow of essential food and
medicines running smoothly.”
Captain Shamisi also officially launched the new TMS UAE Yearbook for 2020/21, which he welcomed as
an important way of highlighting and promoting the contribution of the UAE maritime sector.
After an introduction by TMS managing director, Trevor Pereira, and moderator, TMS editor, Clive
Woodbridge, there was a chance for the captains to explain directly to the audience what life had been
like on their ships during the pandemic. While accepting that the situation had been ‘challenging’ Captain
Joshi struck an upbeat note. “We have made an important contribution as without seafarers half the
world would starve, and the other half would freeze. I am proud of my crew and the way they have
coped,” he stated.
Captain Leon said it had been hard for the crew, some of whom had been onboard now for a year, but
they were holding up. The seafarer is not an average person. A seafarer is beyond average,” he declared.
Captain Morgun highlighted the fact that crew waiting to join ships were also suffering hardships. He
added, “Life onboard is always challenging and the pandemic has added more complexity to it. There are
of course a number of issues for crews and we hope that those in power will listen and can address
them.”
Captain Wael said the crew of his vessel were ‘coping’. He added, “The pressure is tough, but we are
getting through by taking care of ourselves and of each other. We are proud of ourselves and that is
helping us see this through.”
The executives shared their challenges as shore-based business leaders with Mrs. Joshi describing some of
the measures she had taken, both to protect head office staff in Mumbai and crew onboard. “We have
had no casualties, all vessels are Covid free, and we have been successful in managing our offices as well. I
am lucky that at SCI we have a team that is motivated to succeed, as that is the key,” she said.
Imtiaz Shaikh acknowledged that the pandemic is affecting crew and he said part of his role is to reflect
this publicly. He added, “We have to make sure their voices are heard and help to bring an end to their
ordeal.”
Finally, Ali Shehab spoke for all of the executives, when he said, “It is tough. We are tired and exhausted.
But we keep going and we are learning all the time.” He pointed out that the average time officers were
spending onboard was now 7 months rather than 4 months usually, while crew members were spending
 
an average of 11 months at sea rather than 8. “This is having a domino effect and if not addressed will
lead to a crisis,” he suggested.
Clive Woodbridge ended the Webinar by asking the captains to pass on the thanks of everyone taking
part and the hundreds listening globally to their crews for their hard work and sacrifice. “There is no
doubt that seafarers are key workers and it is a real disappointment that many governments have not
given them that recognition which they fully deserve,” said Clive. “The webinar today has highlighted
some of the challenges they faced but also the remarkable robustness and positivity of seafarers who are
proud of their service to the global economy.”
Preparations are now underway for the next TMS Webinar which takes place on August 5th. The focus of
this event will be the impact on the oil, gas and energy sector, including offshore shipping.
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