Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Classification Group Sets Pandemic Risk Management Standards in Maritime Sector

Ferry Firm Becomes First to Attain Qualification Regarding Covid-19 Prevention
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – FINLAND – WORLDWIDE – Whilst the current pandemic has brought misery to many thousands, history has always shown that, while some suffer, others can reap rewards from the very worst situations. As suppliers of PPE watch sales figures soar there are less mercenary gains to be had by those who look for other ways to prevent the spread of the disease, in one case to the benefit of the maritime sector.

Whilst those in the shipping industry look upon Høvik headquartered DNV GL as a classification society, the organisation has a pedigree in setting standards in other, disassociated industries and now has drawn upon its experience in the medical sector to set up an infection risk management standard, ‘My Care’.

Recognising that the Covid-19 outbreak requires a new approach to disease control and prevention the My Care suite of independent assessment services is designed to help businesses reassure stakeholders that they have put infection risk management at the core of their risk management strategy. Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL - Business Assurance said:

“Verification by a third party provides assurance that the right measures are in place to keep people safe, providing transparency and enhancing the trust of passengers and other stakeholders. Active communication of infection risk prevention and mitigation efforts can help companies restore passenger trust, as well as that of employees and other stakeholders. All My Care assessments result in a dedicated trust mark that can be displayed online or on board the vessels, for example, and through which you can share more information.”

My Care brings together aspects of DNV GL’s healthcare standards, best practices in risk management, HSE and quality management systems and maturity safety rating standards and is applicable to companies in any type of industry, including the maritime industry. It differs from DNV GL’s recently launched CIP-M which is a certification standard for infection prevention developed specifically for cruise and other vessel types. CIP-M includes sections on very specific areas such as medical staff, patient rights and medical records.

The Finnish cruise and ferry company Viking Line is the first maritime business to complete a My Care readiness assessment, covering its seven vessels as well as six terminals and was congratulated by Luca Crisciotti. Viking Line says it has long carried out preventive work on contagion risks and infectious diseases, however with DNV GL’s My Care verification, Viking Line’s infection risk prevention work during the pandemic is now quality-assured and inspected by a third party.

Viking Line’s ability to carry out services on the Baltic Sea is determined by decisions made by the authorities in Sweden, Finland and Estonia. A key component of the company’s safety work is health directives and infectious disease control manuals that are continuously used and updated in its operations. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this work has now been intensified and expanded. These measures begin in the terminals before boarding and end with passengers disembarking.

Land-based employees and the vessels’ crews are kept informed on a continuous basis about guidelines in effect and what working methods and protective equipment are to be used for a given period. On earning the qualification Jan Hanses, president and CEO of Viking Line, commented:

“The safety of our passengers and employees is always Viking Line’s top priority, and that is also the case during this pandemic. Everyone must be able to travel safely with us. We have long carried out infection risk preventive work and have now chosen to be assessed by a third party to quality-assure our work in conjunction with Covid-19. Our employees’ considerable efforts are impressive. We have achieved this thanks to their skills and engagement.”

As a starting point to resuming operations, companies can use My Care to choose to assess how well they have implemented infection prevention processes and measures. In addition it can be used to measure infection risk management maturity. This provides a comprehensive understanding of the maturity of their existing processes. It also facilitates integration into and development of HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) management systems, to build long-term business resilience. Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, concluded:

“The pandemic has put immense pressure on businesses to demonstrate a readiness to re-open and reliably sustain operations, the maritime industry is no different. Following our recent launch of the certification of infection prevention in maritime (CIP-M), My Care is yet another example of how DNV GL continues to draw on its existing expertise and experience in healthcare and other industries to innovate new maritime-targeted products to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.“