The biggest challenge facing shipping companies during the crisis triggered by the pandemic? Getting seafarers, who have been working in extremely difficult conditions over the past few months, back home.
Maersk’s Chief Executive, Soren Skou, announced this during the press conference to present their financial results for the second quarter of the year. The Danish company, which has been working hard over the last few weeks to repatriate about two thousand seafarers, admits that the problem exists and that it will take some time before it can be completely resolved.
Travel restrictions, many countries closing their borders and the lack of flights have made repatriation operations more difficult for many sailors. “This is a problem we cannot tackle alone,” said Mr. Skou.
“I believe our crews on board are aware of the Company’s commitment to the difficult humanitarian emergency. We are devoting many of our resources to help them return home to their families.”
To date, 6,600 seafarers are working on board Maersk’s ships and during the peak of the emergency, in July, about two thirds of the total terminated their contract period, but were unable to return home due to lockdown measures set up by many countries to prevent the virus spreading. The same restrictions have clearly prevented safe crew changeovers on board ships.
Over the past few weeks, Maersk has managed to help many seafarers to return home. Those left working on board with expired contracts are just a third of the total.
The company also reported that it closed the April-June period this year with revenues of $9 billion, down 6.5% compared to the second quarter of 2019. EBITDA is up 25.1% to $1.70 billion and EBIT is up 25.1% to $751 million. Maersk’s net income was $443 million (+189.5%).
Translation by Giles Foster