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A ship repair agent’s view on the impact of Covid-19

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“MMI have closed their office until the lockdown is lifted,” says Mike McMahon from Marine Marketing International Ltd. “All staff have laptops, so they can keep abreast of developments and news.”

When it comes to assisting owners during the pandemic, he told DryDock; “We have been assisting owners with finding yards to carry out emergency steel repairs in the Indian Ocean, and trying to find repair options for an LNG carrier from the Middle East through to China.

“Sri Lanka is opening their borders this month, and the Colombo Shipyard continues to trade at full capacity. In SE Asia, Singapore is in total lockdown until 1st June, and across the Johor Strait, the Malaysian yards can operate, but at reduced capacity. China has announced that their ship repair yards are back to full capacity, but their borders remain closed, as they do in Singapore and Malaysia.  So the movement of personnel, crew, service engineers, superintendents and spare parts is severely hampered. Most port immigration services are telling owners that they can accept the vessels but that there has to be a two week period passed since their previous port, and no crew members have shown any symptoms of COVID-19. However, the problem of spares and service engineers still remains.

He went on to say: “We experienced the cancellation of an MOD contract in a USA yard on the same weekend flights to the USA were cancelled. Many scheduled dockings and retrofits for scrubber and BWT installations are being postponed at many worldwide based facilities. Very few scheduled dockings are being seen through.

He has not had to turn down jobs so far but says; “We see owners looking for extensions to Class survey dates and because of these bizarre circumstances, and Class are granting them freely. Owners are making the decisions to postpone because the yards may be able to operate, but the travel restrictions and freight restrictions make it difficult to carry out the repairs efficiently.

When asked whether he was seeing owners looking to take advantage of any available slots due to cancellations, he told DryDock ; “A number of yards worldwide, are offering slots where they weren’t available three months ago, but  I don’t see much take up by owners.”

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