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Viewing posts from: March 2020
26.03.20

Crew Employment Services Guernsey | Business Continuation | COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and is probably set to do so for some time, we thought it would be useful to provide some helpful information indicating how your employment might be impacted and what the current situation is here in Guernsey.

Guernsey is about to enter the next stage of its covid-19 precautions which involves the closing down of all educational establishments until at least the end of the planned Easter holidays in April.

We are fortunate that so far only twenty cases have been confirmed on the island and as of Thursday19th March all non-essential travel was stopped and any persons arriving on the island will have to enter a 14 day self-isolation phase, whatever country they have travelled from.

From our perspective we have already sent high-risk employees to work from home and with effect from Monday 23rd March some 75% of our teams will also be working from home which is a precautionary measure in order to ensure adequate “social distancing” in the office.

Because of this arrangement and despite our having ensured that all appropriate hardware etc. is available, there will inevitably be some communication delays and we would therefore ask that unless it is urgent rather than call the office, please send an email to the person you wish to contact who will then call you back as soon as possible. We are currently working on the March payroll as a priority.

Working As A Team to Support You
From an operational perspective we have obviously prioritised the paying of wages and for the past weeks we have been ensuring that we can continue to provide this service under 100% remote working conditions so that should we be placed in that position service can continue regardless. We are working closely with Hill Robinson, your managers and your owner to ensure you receive your March salary in a timely manner. You may even have been paid earlier this month!

We are dealing with queries from seafarers who find themselves either unable to join or to leave their vessel and we appreciate that every case is different dependent upon all the varying factors under which we work as an industry in terms of location etc. Please bear with us as we work to resolve your situation.

We are under no illusion that this is going to be a challenging time for all concerned, for various reasons and varying degrees and by the nature of this being a global pandemic everybody in every nation faces the same issues and therefore there is a deep and full understanding.

Please be assured we are in contact with Flag states, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions to ensure that business as usual can be maintained as much as possible.

This is a unique situation and many rules are having to be introduced/changed overnight to cope as a result however most Governments are committed to ensuring that any individuals who suffer particular hardship will be compensated in some way shape or form and it is worth looking at your own personal authorities to see if there is any assistance available or about to be made available by your home government. We strongly recommend that all crew travel is kept to a minimum unless absolutely necessary because not only are there the health concerns to worry about but also there are many restrictions in place in most countries and also very few flights available.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

From the queries we have had from our employees, please see below some of the common FAQ’s;

My SEA period is complete and I have worked my notice but there are no flights to repatriate me. Does my employer have to keep paying me and providing food and accommodation until I can be repatriated?
Generally speaking an employer is obliged to arrange for your repatriation which includes ensuring that all food, accommodation and travel is arranged for you. As regards your salary this will be dependent upon the terms and conditions within your SEA but we are working on a case by case basis to ensure this doesn’t happen. It may be that it is better for you to stay working a little longer or to leave earlier. Talk to your Captain who will help arrange the best option for you.

If I am at home awaiting to join a yacht but unable to travel through no fault of my own do I get paid because I am wanting to work?
This will rely entirely upon your contractual terms and conditions which will state from when you receive pay. We are working closely with your managers and owners to find an arrangement that works for everyone in this difficult time. Each situation varies and will be dealt with on a case by case basis and we’re working hard to do the best we can for the crew we employ but the reality is that the current situation may mean that unpaid leave is the only option for some owners. Again should you not be eligible for pay whilst waiting to join a vessel many Governments are establishing support schemes for employees who are unable to work as a result of the pandemic so it is worth checking your local situation anyway.

My relief is unable to join the yacht because of travel restrictions, do I get compensated for working extra time? How this is handled will depend on the terms and conditions of your employment but you would be compensated.
This will either be with financial compensation or extra leave to be taken at a later date. Talk to your captain and he will help find the best solution for your situation.

My boss has offered me a new contract at a reduced pay, do I have to accept? These are unprecedented times and we have seen some owners decide already that they will not use their yacht in the foreseeable future and so no longer need the full crew.
This, for some, is a good compromise but if you do not wish to stay at the reduced salary, your normal (full pay) SEA can be terminated under the usual terms & conditions. Whilst we are working to ensure the maximum number of crew maintain full employment, undoubtedly many yachts will not need full crew in the current situation.

Further information: There is a lot of information being circulated, so we do advise you only to use official government & flag state sources.

Important links for more support and information, from the following: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/seafarer-coronavirus-information
https://www.register-iri.com/covid-19/
https://www.cishipping.com/welcome-maci

Stay safe, stay well. Thank you.

The Crew Employment Services Team
Guernsey number: +44 1481 816415

24.03.20

Business Continuity at Hill Robinson | 'Business as Usual' A MESSAGE FROM THE PARTNERS Firstly, on a personal note, we are reaching out to you in these challenging times to wish you all in our business family, and your own families  - a safe passage through the next few months. We all appreciate that the coronavirus pandemic has created a 'new world order' in all parts of our business and family life, but there is an old adage that says  'when the going gets tough, the tough get going'  and this fits well with the positive global response from all the Hill Robinson offices and across all our business activities that will support all our clients, crew, staff and suppliers. Importantly, Hill Robinson were able to proactively initiate business contingency plans well ahead of the Government restrictions as we have excellent and secure communications systems in place, offering reliable support for our efficient service that sets a benchmark in our industry. Hill Robinson is ahead of the curve. In all our offices in France, Monaco, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, UK, IoM, Australia, Saudi Arabia and USA we have activated home-working across our digital network offering the same seamless service expected of Hill Robinson. Our business model is perfectly suited to the challenges ahead, strong finances, a fully digitally-connected workforce already used to remote operation and the right team attitude that will shine through even when we have to work independently. This operational culture is tried-and-tested by our team working remotely in shipyards and on board yachts.  Our yacht managers, accounts & administration teams join together with technical and project managers, efficiently maintaining excellent communications with clients, suppliers, captains and crew. This enables us to be confident we will continue to offer our exemplary support operation through this crisis. Our charter management, sales and charter teams, plus the procurement department are actively processing enquiries and ready to do new business as needed. Our business foundation is about safety and compliance, focusing on client, crew and staff wellbeing.  As an illustration we have issued coronavirus guidelines and our regular fleet notices to all offices and vessels. This includes Risk Assessments issued and completed by each office and vessel. So to sum up, with all our offices and teams remotely connected with all the right tools, the right 'can-do' team spirit, we are ready to offer 'business as usual'. Stay safe and well. Do please also stay in touch with us and see if we can assist you. The Hill Robinson partners Nick Hill, Niall Robinson and Karl H Hartmann Monaco:              +377 93 10 29 29                Palma:        +34 971 675 888 Antibes:               +33 492 90 59 59                Limassol:    +357 25 025 750 Fort Lauderdale: +1 954 792 6112                Gold Coast: +61 755 731 764 Isle of Man:         +44 1624 622 523               Italy:            +39 187 532 270

09.03.20

BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION & HILL ROBINSON PARTNERSHIP Healthy oceans are vital for the future of humanity, not only to provide a future food supply for a growing population, but because complex ocean ecosystems absorb half the planet’s carbon dioxide and produce half our oxygen. Oceans emptied of fish cannot function effectively and are less resilient to other threats such as climate change and acidification. Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. BLUE is dedicated to securing marine protected areas, developing models of sustainable fishing and restoring marine habitats. BLUE’s mission is to see at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030 and the other 70 per cent managed in a responsible way. With the support of Hill Robinson Yacht Management, BLUE has made strong progress in the Maldives towards our mission of improving the health of marine ecosystems by building capacity for Maldivian marine conservationists. The BLUE team would like to send our heartfelt thanks to Hill Robinson Yacht Management for your support. With the support of Hill Robinson Yacht Management, BLUE has managed to create a network of local conservation leaders on Laamu Atoll over the last 13 months: January 2019: BLUE launched its community citizen science programme on Laamu Atoll called ‘Laamaseelu Farudhun’ (‘exemplary citizens’ in the local language, Divehi). February 2019: BLUE trained 21 people from Laamu Atoll as seagrass guardians. May 2019: Two of Laamu Atoll’s seagrass guardians completed their first independent survey of the seagrass around Fonadhoo island, surveying and mapping 66,500 square meters of seagrass. September 2019: BLUE trained 30 students from a local school as coral reef champions. November 2019: Eight of Laamu Atoll’s seagrass guardians completed their second independent survey of the seagrass around the island of Kunahandhoo. Tropical landscapes are characterised by three key habitats: coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves which work in parallel to support one another. However, while mangroves and coral reefs have garnered a lot of attention and subsequent conservation efforts, seagrasses have long been ignored and remain undervalued and underappreciated. Seagrass is vital to the low-lying island nation of the Maldives: it prevents beach erosion, fights climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, provides food for sea turtles, supports fisheries and houses juvenile coral reef fish. However, unfortunately, seagrasses have a particularly bad reputation which stems from the luxury tourism industry who have historically removed seagrasses from around resort islands because they believe they look ‘ugly’. Because of this, many Maldivians believe that seagrasses are ‘weeds’ and do not fully understand how important they are for coral reef health. In 2019, BLUE ran a social media #protectmaldivesseagrass campaign which successfully convinced more than a quarter of all the resorts in the Maldives to agree to protect the seagrasses around their islands, protecting an area of 830,000m2. Following on from this, BLUE decided to kickstart its citizen science programme by working with the people of Laamu to protect their local seagrass beds. In February 2019, BLUE invited two of the world’s leading seagrass experts to the Maldives (Dr. Michael Rasheed, Principal Research Scientist, TropWATER, James Cook University Australia and Professor Mike Van Keulen, Senior Lecturer in Plant Science and Micro-Biology, Murdoch University Australia) to Laamu Atoll to come and lead these sessions together with BLUE’s team and marine biologists from the Maldives Underwater Initiative at Six Senses Laamu. We were absolutely delighted that the programme was so well attended! 21 people from the community, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), higher education schools and local governments participated in the training and participants were from seven of the eleven inhabited islands on the atoll. In the morning, the team delivered a theory session to participants in a classroom. Participants were provided with training materials and taught about the importance of seagrasses for the Maldives. Specific emphasis was placed on the role of seagrass in offering coastal protection to Maldivian islands. In the afternoon, we took the team into the water to a seagrass meadow where we were able to physically show participants different seagrass species, the visible differences between healthy and unhealthy seagrasses and practice monitoring techniques. By the end of the day, participants were confident about what they learned and felt inspired to contribute research to BLUE to help us to design a marine protected area. It was agreed that participants would return to their home islands and lead independent surveys together with people from their islands on the seagrass meadows around their islands. These would be carried out twice a year and the data collected shared with our team. Laamu Atoll’s seagrass guardians spread their wings as local leaders In May 2019, our seagrass guardians organised their first independent survey of the seagrass meadows around Fonadhoo Island. The survey was initiated by the team from a local NGO who attended our first training session. Two of Laamu Atoll’s seagrass guardians recruited three other people from their local island to join them and they successfully surveyed and mapped 66,500 square meters of their local seagrass meadow! The team plans to fix a permanent monitoring transect to understand the changes overtime at this location. Later last year in November, three other seagrass guardians organised their first independent led survey on the island of Kunahandhoo. They managed to recruit five other people from the island to join them and the successfully mapped and surveyed 36,000 square meters of seagrass! Training young coral reef champions on Laamu Atoll Coral reefs are the foundation of every island in the Maldives. They protect the country’s low-lying islands from erosion and provide the setting for its tourism industry that employs a third of the population and supports the Maldivian economy. However, while the Maldives has a high literacy and school enrolment rate and formal education is valued highly among communities, environmental awareness is low, and many Maldivians still do not understand the science of coral reefs and how they function. In September 2019, BLUE trained 30 students from Isdhoo and Kalaidhoo as coral reef champions and certified them as Discover Reef Check snorkellers. The Reef Check programme teaches children about the basics of coral reef ecology and Shaha, BLUE’s Laamu Project Manager, is a certified trainer. Shaha taught the students about coral reefs and explained why they are so important for the Maldives. She also taught the students how to recognise a healthy coral reef and how to identify key species that you find on coral reefs such as groupers and parrotfish. These students are on the brink of deciding what their future careers will be. However, without fully understanding coral reefs and experiencing them, many of these young people may never have even considered pursuing marine conservation. BLUE believes it has given these students the opportunity to consider a career in marine science and made clear how important their role is in the future of Laamu Atoll’s environment. Conclusion BLUE has successfully provided more than 50 people on Laamu Atoll with a basic understanding of the local habitats that surround their islands and equipped them with the knowledge to help protect them. More than 10 of our trainees have already carried out independent monitoring of their local seagrass meadows – a huge achievement! BLUE has been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception we have had from the community who are so willing and eager to participate in our citizen science programme. Over the next six months BLUE will complete this programme with the following activities:

  • Work with our seagrass guardians to ensure that the remaining nine islands complete independent surveys of their local seagrass meadows;
  • Train 10 adult community members as advanced Reef Check Eco-Divers;
  • Provide dive training to additional people and fishermen who are passionate about marine conservation; and
  • Train more than 20 people as local mangrove
BLUE has recently secured funds to run a social media campaign on Laamu Atoll in September 2020 to secure a tangible conservation commitment from the people of Laamu Atoll. BLUE aims to use its seagrass guardians, coral reef champions and mangrove custodians as leading figures in this campaign to advocate for long-lasting environmental protection on Laamu Atoll. Please visit https://www.bluemarinefoundation.com/

09.03.20

5 Reasons Why to Charter M/Y Rarity

RARITY beam

1) Recently refitted 2m extension of the swim platform for easy access to tenders and the sea.

2) Air conditioned gym fully equipped gym on the sundeck.

3) Elevator connecting all decks.

4) PADI Scuba Diving Certification.

5) 559cm (220-inch) cinema screen in the sky-lounge.

6) Experienced Charter Yacht Captain Toni Brok and the crew know every nook and cranny of Croatia.

7) Chef Spiro brings his experience of Michelin Star cooking on-board.

8) Large 10m beam in the master cabin, including a private office as well as a walk-in wardrobe.

For more information, please email charter@hillrobinson.com.