Dear Officers, Crew, Clients and Shareholders;
This quote was the last sentence in my opening paragraph of our Winter 2019-2020 edition of New Horizons. Well, this was not what I was looking forward to; what the world was looking forward to, and certainly neither was our industry, you, or your passengers.
Nobody expected that change would present itself in the form of a global pandemic that would shut down world economies and cost so many lives, including the life of one of our dear colleagues, Mr. Ronnie Lorenzo, Deck & Engine Storekeeper onboard the M/V GREG
MORTIMER, who passed on April 17, in Montevideo. We have a special tribute to him in this issue, honoring him for his years of service to us and our industry.
I believe we have well communicated through our Client’s Letters of May 3 and June 5 what we encountered in securing the safe repatriation of passengers and our crew, the actions taken to secure each vessel and to financially support our crew during the difficult months to come. At the time of this writing, 49 crew remain in a hotel in Montevideo awaiting flights and approximately 50 CMI/CMIL crew are onboard the OCEAN DIAMOND awaiting the same, but these numbers would surely change prior to publishing.
So, how do we move on from here? How do we recover emotionally, psychologically, and of course, financially? How do we convince passengers to return to cruising; and our crew to return to work on board a ship? How and what can we learn from this experience?
These are questions we have all been asking ourselves in one form or another. Undoubtedly, we have a lot of work to do, but we can only overcome this crisis if we continue to work together, address the challenges collaboratively, share information, data and expectations with the understanding that we need each other more than ever to once again lift our industry back
to the heights we came from and return even stronger, reaching even higher.
As to lessons learned, there will be a need for a tremendous amount of soul searching by everyone within our industry, in fact by the entire shipping, maritime and airlines industries and by all organizations connected in one way or another. There is enough blame to go around and I can assure you that we will be addressing many of the issues which were beyond our control, but for now, we must look to what it is we can do to be better prepared for similar situations. > > >
“Focus must be our key ingredient in achieving what today seems insurmountable, but inevitably will lead you back to the top. Leadership and decisive actions will ensure we can stay there through good times and through crisis”
From the onset of this crisis, we established the Health Management + Vessel Sanitation Committee, consisting of a ‘Working Committee’ including the expert disciplines from our Group Companies and an ‘Advisory Group’, which includes representation from a cross-section of our clients.
The objective is a) to comfortably assure our crew and clients that we have applied all applicable measures known and available to us by incorporating the COVID-19 sanitation guidelines into our current procedures; and b) to communicate our new COVID-19 included procedures, to our clients.
We want to deliver a certified, COVID-free ship, with a well-defined prevention, maintenance, and response plan.
As you can imagine, there are many companies trying to sell their systems, products and chemicals, and we need to be diligent in assessing all options and decide which is best for each ship within our Fleet. We analyzed the current HVAC systems installed on each ship to see what must be done to ensure ‘healthy air’ is being circulated. We are in close communication with the major cruise lines and are taking into consideration the best practices currently applied. We are confident that we can meet all requirements set forth by the WHO, CLIA, CDC and expect to have our first working document delivered by the end of July, which will be communicated in one-on-one sessions with each client.
I take this opportunity to thank all of you who forwarded updates on industry developments and products coming onto the market, they all have been included in our discussions.
In our last edition I outlined the directive given to CMI: “we are to grow our business, selectively with the emphasis on making our organization stronger to the benefit of our clients”.
Our aim is to continue doing just that, but now with an emphasis on “making our organization stronger to the benefit of our clients”. The common expression “every cloud has a silver lining” means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspects. We must believe this, even after this global pandemic. In our case, this event has questioned how we do business and why we do what we do. In my opinion I am convinced that this crisis has brought us closer together, and that the procedural reviews and implementation of our new plan will make us a stronger and even safer organization.
In my previous letter I noted what a privilege it is for me to be part of this CMI team. I knew they were great but as always, it is during a crisis that you really get to know your team, who truly have come through since we started working remotely on March 16. Our team were literally
on call 24/7, supporting each ship, each crew member, and dealing with some very difficult and extraordinary circumstances. The crew has been tested, the passengers have been tested and certainly our shoreside team has been tested and they have been incredibly dedicated and focused in ensuring we got through the tough parts, so I thank them profoundly.
This edition of CMI’s NEW HORIZON will focus on how we will continue to work in 2020 to prepare ourselves for the inevitable and strong return of our business. I sincerely hope you will feel confident in our actions to address the many challenges still facing us. I am always available for any questions, suggestions and or concerns you may have.
Safety + Integrity + Profitability + Transparency + Risk Aversion