The coronavirus (COVID-19) has the potential to significantly impact the Irish Sea supply chains. As Governments step up their response to the virus, ferry companies are also seeking to minimise the risks within their own organisations.
“In the cruise industry we have all seen the impact of an outbreak aboard a vessel,” says Alistair Eagles, Seatruck Ferries’ CEO. “So, to significantly reduce the risk of crew infection and cross contamination between travelling drivers we have decided to stop shipping any HGV drivers or any other passengers on our Irish Sea vessels with immediate effect.”
He adds: “Our Irish Sea services will run as normal but will be restricted to the shipment of drop trailers and unaccompanied trade vehicles. Customers who normally move driver accompanied vehicles on our services can of course continue to move their traffic, albeit on an unaccompanied trailer only basis.
“This short-term preventative measure will apply to all Seatruck routes, Warrenpoint – Heysham, Dublin – Liverpool and Dublin – Heysham. It will be regularly reviewed and removed as soon as safe and practical to do so.
“HGV drivers attending our terminals to drop and collect unaccompanied trailers should follow the normal and well published Government guidelines to avoid further spread of the virus.
“To transfer your driver accompanied booking or to make additional drop trailer bookings please contact the local shipping office in Dublin, Liverpool, Warrenpoint and Heysham.”
Meanwhile, in a statement from Stena Line, management say that “due to the design of our ferries, as well as the length and nature of the crossings, we have always operated a shared cabin policy for freight drivers. As we have always done, where a driver wishes to have their own cabin we will endeavour to meet their request when there are cabins available. In the current circumstances with the COVID-19/Coronavirus, where a driver now requests a single occupancy cabin and there is one available, we will waiver the additional charge to the driver.”
The statement adds: “If none is available and the driver still does not wish to share then they will be offered a recliner seat in our premium Hygge recliner lounge or other recliner lounge, free of any additional charge. Drivers will still have access to the Truckers dining facilities and amenities as they currently enjoy. As situation develops and the flag states, under which the ferries operate, give further information and guidance, we will of course review this.”