Established ship repair and wholly Namibian-owned company Namdock, strategically located on the west coast of Africa in Walvis Bay, resumed full operations with effect from Tuesday 5 May 2020. This is in accordance with the inception of stage 2 of Namibia’s national Covid-19 lockdown, which has seen the partial easing of restrictive measures thanks to the recent flattening of the very minimal in-country infection curve.
“Over the past few weeks we have put strict personal protection and sanitisation measures in place, to ensure that we could safely resume full-capacity operations when the time came,” explains Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Acting CEO of Namdock. “Our first priority is always the health and wellbeing of our valued staff and clients, and all business operations are conducted according to those priorities,” she says.
“I am therefore happy to report that our repair and maintenance yard activities are once again fully operational. All facilities and staff members are adhering to the prescribed Covid-19 safety and sanitisation regulations. These include working in shifts and observing strict social distancing, regular temperature readings, hand washing, wearing of face masks, gloves and other prescribed personal protective equipment (PPE),” she explains.
As a further precautionary lockdown measure, the Namibian Ports Authority Namport has instituted a directive requiring foreign-flagged vessels to stay at anchorage for a minimum period of 2 weeks before entering the main port or docking for repairs. In some instances, the two week waiting period may be reduced, taking into account the vessel’s time spent at sea after leaving the last port of call.
The company has undertaken extensive research into recommended Covid-19 mitigation measures, and is thereby taking every precaution to ensure the safety of its clients, employees, and service providers – as well as the local Walvis Bay community – during this pandemic.
“As such, we are following all recommendations and protocols as directed by the Namibian Government; as well as the Namibian Port Authority (Namport). We have to this end also implemented a comprehensive Covid-19 response plan, in accordance with recommendations by the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services and the World Health Organisation,” she advises.
In addition, the company also adopted a proactive approach to ongoing risk management, and has subsequently continually monitored adherence to the preventative measures put in place, in accordance with global best practice.
As a marine engineering and ship repair company, Namdock deals with a variety of local and international clients and is an operation consisting of many moving parts. In order to operate as safely as possible, the company is therefore taking a stringent approach throughout the working day as follows:
- Social distancing rules will be adhered to at all times and in all areas of operation.
- All personnel will undergo temperature when checks when arriving at work.
- All staff are equipped with full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves at all times.
- All common areas are regularly sanitised throughout the day.
“This is a broad overview of the measures we have in place. Our various work areas each have specific safety and sanitisation guidelines, and we will continuously review our risk assessment and adjust these measures as required,” says Muyoba.
Busier times predicted
Namdock, which docked vessels within the first day of resuming full operations, anticipates that its shipyard – which includes three floating docks and fully equipped on-site fabrication facilities – will become busier.
“This is despite the offshore sector being under pressure due to the currently low oil price; which has been negatively impacted by the drastic reduction in the demand caused by, amongst other Covid-19-related factors, the ban on international air travel,” she points out.
“With our Panamax-sized dock, we are fortunately also well-positioned to offer general classification work, and to service bulk container, cargo and fishing vessels. In addition, with our extensive general engineering, welding and fabrication facilities and expertise, we are equally well-positioned to service coastal mining and other sectors.”
At this challenging time, in which business locally and globally has been hugely affected and is scrambling to resume, Muyoba says the company’s clients can rest assured that its core values of trust, excellence and integrity are unwavering: “We will continue to abide by our ethos and values, remaining transparent and providing our valued stakeholders with updates as we receive them.
We have all the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in place, and we are re-energised and positive about our return to full capacity. In this regard, we would like to thank our loyal and dedicated staff members; as well as our local and international suppliers, and of course our valued clients.
Our valued stakeholders have been there for us during these challenging days, and can all rely on us as responsible corporate citizens to do our part not only in the fight against Covid-19, but in doing our part to relaunch business both locally and internationally,” she concludes.