Spanish tuna operator Echebastar has been affected by the coronavirus situation, in particular in being unable to rotate crews as their usual relief dates come around.
‘Due international travel restrictions we are unable to rotate our crews following completion of their sea periods’ said Echebastar’s head of sustainability José Luis Jauregui.
‘The vessels continue fishing to ensure the continuity of supplies to our customers to meet the high global demand for quality canned tuna. We are proud to report that our people, the majority of whom have been with us for many years, understand and accept the situation. When the threat posed by the virus has diminished to the extent that our crews may resume their usual work pattern, those now fishing will be able to enjoy deserved vacations.’
Echebastar has introduced preventative measures needed to protect crews from the virus while they are on board. Specifically, the company has designed on-board quarantine plans to prevent potential cases of infection being brought ashore. The body temperature of the personnel is constantly monitored, both crew and shore workers while in port.
‘Extra intense precautions are also required regarding personal hygiene. At present, there are no cases of infection whatsoever in the Echebastar fleet,’ he said.
‘Since the beginning of this unfortunate pandemic, we have learned to adapt working conditions on board ships to this unexpected situation. If there is a word that defines the present situation it would be “normal”, considering the circumstances, which we are trying to face in the best possible way.’
The shore side of Echebastar’s activities have been adapted, with remote working procedures in place, and for those who have to be at the company’s workplace, strict controls are in place, including body temperature monitoring, hygiene and social distancing.
‘The goal for us is to actively participate in the food supply chain, so we can continue supplying canned tuna and the full range of our deep-frozen products. We want to ensure our customers that the consequences of the pandemic are producing the minimum impact,’ José Luis Jauregui said, adding that Echebastar continues to work towards MSC certification.
‘During this period, and as ever, we continue fishing in strict compliance with the highest standards of sustainability and respect for the environment. While there will undoubtedly be delays in the various processes at the international, national and company level, we continue to implement our 2020–21 work programme to meet the milestones to the conditions to certification.