Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) is an internationally active operation and experiences different situations related to the coronavirus at its various locations. “We have largely remained open for business throughout the coronavirus crisis,” says Jeroen Heesters, Group Commercial Director, Sales & Marketing, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion Holding. “We feel that is at times like this that our clients most need our support.

Throughout this time, however, the safety of our personnel, our suppliers, their families and the people in the communities in which we operate, has remained our highest priority. Where we have remained open for business it has been through implementation of our own robust safety measures and by closely following guidelines of parties such as (but not limited to) the national governments in the countries where our yards are located, the World Health Organisation and other expert bodies.

All of our repair yards in the Netherlands have remained open throughout the coronavirus crisis. Our Mangalia, Romania location is open now, as are our yards in Dunkirk and Brest, France and in Curacao.

Damen Shiprepair Harbour & Voyage, our port repairs team, has remained open for business also. During this time, with travel restrictions in place and reduced availability of transport, the service has focused its activities on the ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Vlissingen and Eemshaven.”

Maintaining worker/client safety

DSC has based its Coronavirus safety measures on information received from several sources. This includes (but is not limited to) national governments in the countries in which we operate, the World Health Organization and other experts. The guidelines, regulations and advice of these parties is of vital importance to us as it enables to fulfil our goals of ensuring safety whilst maintaining the continuity of our operations.

“All of our personnel who can work from home (office staff), have been doing so for the past months,” states Heesters. “When people have had to come to the office, they have been required to observe social distancing measures and strict hygiene requirements. We have reduced physical meeting to an absolute minimum.

“Of course, for those working on the vessels, working from home is not possible. Therefore, numerous measures have been put in place to ensure safe working. This includes (but is not limited to) maintaining social distance – for the Netherlands this is 1.5 metres. In other countries, where the recommended distance is greater than 1.5 metres, we have observed this.

He told DryDock: “We insist that anyone exhibiting symptoms of the illness – along with anyone who has an underlying health condition – does not attend work. Should anyone develop symptoms whilst at work, we have a process in place that involves isolating the area they are working in and contacting the emergency services. We have our own emergency response team on location at all times when people are working.

“On location, we have provided guidance regarding hygiene and ensured everyone has access to disinfectant hand wash at all times. Additionally, we hold regular toolbox meetings to make sure everyone is always informed and up-to-date on what they are required to do to play their part in maintaining safety. Everyone on location is required to wash their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds at least once an hour.

We have placed personnel in fixed pairs so that they work directly only with one other person in order to minimise interaction between people. Similarly, employees are requested not to share tools where possible and, when tools must be shared, to disinfect them after use.

Our measures have proven to be effective; we have been able to continue to serve our clients, to play our part in maintaining the critically important maritime flow of goods and materials around the world, whilst keeping people safe.”

Customer support during the crisis

“Our Harbour & Voyage Repair Team have created a 24/7 ship disinfection service, offering WHO approved cleaning on board vessels,” explains Heesters. “We have already had some experience with this, notably for the cruise industry.”