Published on 28 Jan 2022
BSM always puts employee safety and customer satisfaction at the heart of its operations. As a result, the company has continued to expand its efforts and support to provide access to COVID vaccinations for all shore and sea-based personnel worldwide.
The vaccination campaign at BSM in Ghana has been very popular.
Most governments see the vaccine as intrinsic to their efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and bring the number of cases under control. Vaccine availability varies by country, as do regional and individual sentiments towards these programmes.
As a truly global industry, shipping is powered by an international workforce while navigating an array of different vaccine options and their availability across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved a number of different vaccines and governments have rolled out campaigns in efforts to see significant proportions of their populations inoculated.
BSM supports COVID-19 vaccinations and has introduced a variety of measures tailored to the needs of seafarers in their country. “We actively encourage our employees to get vaccinated and help our seafarers to get access to COVID-19 vaccines,” says Arndt Steffen, Deputy Director HR Marine at BSM. This is no easy undertaking as vaccine availability, and government regulations vary widely by country. BSM’s efforts are not exclusively aimed at seafaring colleagues, but the entire BSM family. “Where possible, we are working with regional administrations to roll out vaccination programmes for seafarers and shore personal in their homelands”, says Steffen.
Every Country Requires and Enables Different Measures
In Germany, for example, employees who had not yet been vaccinated by their family doctor or at a vaccination centre were given the opportunity to be vaccinated and take their boosters in the Hamburg office by the company doctor. In Ghana, BSM’s Crew Service Centre worked in collaboration with Ghana Health Service to vaccinate more than 70 BSM seafarers before they started their next employment. BSM’s Crew Service Centre in India conducted vaccination drives in Mumbai, Calcutta, Cochin and other locations for all employees and their immediate families. Other company-wide vaccination campaigns were carried out at BSM locations in Myanmar and the Philippines. BSM also coordinates with those ports around the world offering vaccination services, such as in the USA and Europe via their Port Health Centres or Seamen’s Missions.
Steffen is convinced: “All these measures contribute to the fact that we have a very high vaccination coverage rate among the seafarers who embark today.” BSM recognises, however, that vaccine options available to seafarers and programmes available to them vary depending on the region in which they live. As one family, BSM has listened to its seafarers’ concerns and launched a virtual Seafarers’ Vaccination Campaign to encourage vaccinations and to provide sound medical advice to those seeking more information.
Live Online Sessions with Medical Professionals
Central to this campaign was a series of live online sessions with medical professionals. BSM has invited doctors to give presentations on the different vaccines available and how they work. Both the benefits and potential side effects of vaccines were discussed.
Following a brief presentation, the floor was opened and seafarers were invited to put forward their own questions. So far, sessions have taken place in the English and in Russian languages – with both being attended by a significant number of participants at each session.
Steffen says: “As one family we place high value on the safety of our seafarers and we believe that vaccines are the best way to protect each other. That is why we will not tire in our efforts. For the benefit of our employees and our customers.”