At the end of 2020, the group employed 355 maritime professionals, out of which 84 percent at sea.
At the end of 2020, the group employed 355 maritime professionals, out of which 84 percent at sea. Noteworthy is that this figure includes only the personnel on the the group’s owned vessels. Moreover, over 350 seafarers work onboard our time-chartered vessels. They are employed by respective vessel managers.
In 2020, 89 students were on board ESL Shipping’s Finnish-flagged vessels in mandatory training. On average, each student spent 36 days on-board, which is almost a week longer than last year. This is mainly due to the COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions in place which made crew changes challenging. One of the students spent nearly 4.5 months onboard compared to the average of four to six weeks.
In 2020, the conventional ways of working were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. ESL Shipping’s office personnel in Sweden and Finland started working remotely in mid-March. Even though the offices were later partially opened, the majority of the personnel were still working remotely at the end of the year. The pandemic, however, had an even more significant impact on ESL Shipping’s sea personnel.
In the spring, it was nearly impossible to conduct a crew change abroad due to the various restrictions caused by the pandemic. This resulted in longer than usual working periods onboard. In addition, in many ports seafarers were not allowed to leave the vessel which considerably limited their possibilities for recreation. In several ports, these restrictions are still in place.
The situation was even more problematic for ESL Shipping’s non-EU crew members. After hard work and careful planning, new processes were implemented where non-EU crew members were first flown to Finland for testing and quarantine. Accommodation was arranged at ESL Shipping’s pusher Rautaruukki which was laid off in Helsinki. In close cooperation with the Finnish authorities, the scarce positive cases were successfully screened and isolated before boarding a vessel, and the crew changes have been running since May.
As a result of the improved testing capacity in Finland, every seafarer regardless of nationality has been tested before going on board since the end of November to ensure the safety and well-being of the person in question and those onboard. In addition, we have arranged tests for apprentices and required service engineers. ESL Shipping’s vessels are an important part of the national education system providing opportunities for mandatory training for future seafarers.
In order to further improve the leadership skills among the onboard management, ESL Shipping participated in tailor-made Deep Leadership course for ships’ personnel together with other Finnish shipping companies. The pioneering course was partly sponsored by Seafarers' Pension Fund (MEK) who together with ship owners and other stakeholders saw a need to develop and coach the onboard management on their interaction skills and leadership behavior. The outcome of the Deep Leadership training showed a clear positive trend on measured 360 degree profiles of participants. Based on encouraging experience it has been decided to continue the training of the ship personnel as well as the whole office staff in 2020.
Read more about our work for safety here.