04 May 2021

Protecting the health, morale and wellbeing of seafarers and the shipping community

Over the past year, the Maritime industry has been affected severely by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only has it been a battle to prevent the virus from spreading to crew members onboard ships as they deliver vital cargoes around the world, but it has also caused a humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of sailors have been unable to return home to their families at the end of their employment contracts.

In some cases, seafarers have been stuck onboard for up to 18 months, contravening the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) stipulations for maximum contract duration.

Some reputable shipping companies have even chartered entire airplanes at significant cost in an effort to facilitate crew change operations, as less than 60 counties have defined seafarers as 'essential workers'.

Having sailed as a crew member onboard container vessels in the past, I can sympathize with the stress and uncertainty that seafarers have faced since the onslaught of the pandemic, and motivated me to help adapt Intertek's Protek service line towards the maritime segment.

The one segment among the over 50,000 vessel strong global merchant fleet that has been most gravely affected by Covid-19 are the cruise lines, a previously thriving industry that ground to a halt by the 100 nanometer Coronavirus.  As the cruise industry struggles to restart their operations and build confidence among potential passengers and other stakeholders, they need all the help they can get, and this is where engaging third party experts like Intertek can be particularly effective. 

Intertek Protek Maritime Health Risk Management is a comprehensive and practical health and safety solution for the maritime industry that protects and assures port authorities, ship agents, surveyors, pilots, ship crews and other stakeholders that recommended measures from IMO/ WHO guidelines and industry best practice are being rigorously followed.

Protek Maritime offers a complete health management assessment to identify and prioritize virus risk reduction strategies, guide implementation of preferred administrative and engineering controls, identify opportunities to support the morale and wellbeing of seafarers, and provide compliance reporting.  We also offer the option of Protek Certification based on the guidelines and principles issued by WHO, IMO, CDC, OSHA and ASHRAE. Additionally, our certification process is based on the requirements of the ISO 17065 standard.

Integral to our offering to the maritime segment is Protek People Assurance, an on-demand eLearning and certification program empowering companies to deliver essential employee training on health and safety. Backed by Intertek's Qualified Personnel (IQP) Program, Protek People Assurance brings peace of mind to companies and consumers across the globe by independently qualifying personnel to ensure that they meet the highest standards of operational excellence.

While the vaccine promises to reduce the severity of the pandemic, public health experts emphasize that additional vigilance is still required. Uneven acceptance and global distribution of the vaccine, and the continuing emergence of viral variants make multi-faceted health risk reduction strategies necessary. Additionally, other known and yet unknown pathogens will continue to threaten the health and wellbeing of seafarers and others in the maritime industry. Protek Maritime Health Risk Management offers comprehensive and customized solutions. Learn more about this service by downloading our flyer.  https://www.intertek.com/lintec/protek-for-the-marine-industry-download/


Hauk Wahl,
Business Development Manager, Intertek Lintec


Hauk Wahl is the Business Development Manager for Intertek Lintec based in Houston, Texas. He has more than 20 years experience with testing and inspection of marine fuels and lubricants in Europe, Middle East and the Americas.  He holds a BS degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Master's degree from Norwegian School of Management in Oslo.

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