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Facing the Storm with Confidence

The health and safety of its passengers and crew is the priority for all shipping companies. It always should be, and it always is. Now we also need to make sure that we operate ships in a way that stops the spread of the Coronavirus as far as possible. The world needs supplies of food and other supplies, and it is entirely possible to operate ships in a way that does not contribute to the spread of the virus.  Procedures for safe port calls, handling of cargoes and rotation of crews have been or are in the process of being implemented. Crews, bunkers and other supplies to the ships must be paid, and I hope that bankers and other ship financiers do not forget that these are maritime liens that do have priority in front of payment of interest and instalments. Most countries are now providing or preparing large financial support packages to banks and other financial institutions.  Some of this support must be allocated to provide necessary financial flexibility to the shipping industry. Shipping banks and other ship finance institutions should, in the first instance, prepare plans for rescheduling of loan repayments, and possible deferral of interest payments. Rescheduling of payments may present particular issues for ships financed with long term leases. The shipping industry is very capable of dealing with changing market conditions and adversity. I am confident that all industry professionals will deal with the situation now at hand with calm, integrity, honesty and skill.