Local fishing company takes care of employees
16 April 2020 | Fishing
Imraan Soomra; Oceana Group CEO; “The lockdown measures will have a deep and lasting economic effect, but our first priority must be to save lives.”
The Oceana Namibia Group of Companies ensured that employees who have to work during the Covid-19 lockdown period are taken care of and are able to sustain their livelihoods.
The Oceana Group provides permanent jobs to more than 1 000 locals and has a long history of operation in the Namibian fishing industry through its subsidiaries Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) and Commercial Cold Storage (CCS), and its associate company Etosha Fishing Corporation.
“We will serve our country with courage and perseverance. Your health and safety remain our priority,” Oceana Management said in a message that was distributed along with food parcels to employees and their families during the past weeks.
Care packages with essential items were also given to crew aboard company vessels, while land- based employees received food parcels. Food parcels were also delivered to the homes of crewmembers who are out at sea.
The Oceana Group established a fund that will benefit all employees to ensure they are taken care of beyond the immediate impact of Covid-19. The company also expressed its commitment to ensure an uninterrupted and affordable food supply to the most vulnerable communities in Namibia.
All companies in the group are directly involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and as such have been certified as essential service providers.
Oceana Group CEO Imraan Soomra urged all employees to strictly adhere to all health and safety protocols instituted by the group, as well as that of government and the relevant local authorities.
He noted that staff safety, health and flattening the Covid-19 infection curve is an immediate priority.
“There is no doubt that the lockdown measures announced by government will have deep and lasting economic effects. Our first priority must be to save lives since businesses can be rebuilt and jobs regained, but lives not,” said Soomra.
Many employees of the Oceana Group operating in Namibia, South African and the United States, have been hard at work throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Our employees are the life-blood of our business and our greatest asset. As an essential service food supplier, our employees continue to serve our country. Our first duty is and will always be, to ensure that they and their families remain safe, are taken care of and that we sustain their jobs,” EME managing director Dr Martha Uumati said.
EME is a leading employer in the local horse mackerel sector and most employees opted to continue working on the horse mackerel freezer trawlers which are out at sea, instead of sitting at home on lockdown without earning a fishing commission.
Workers at Etosha Fishing’s cannery, the only remaining operational cannery in Namibia, have also been at their posts to ensure sustained operations and food supply.
CCS staff continue to provide an uninterrupted service in the distribution of frozen goods from its cold storage facility at Walvis Bay.
All three companies have been recognised and certified as essential economic and food service providers by the ministry of industrialization and trade.
All Oceana Namibia companies operate under strict safety and precautionary measures to ensure that no staff member is potentially exposed to Covid-19.
Standard operating procedures came into immediate effect with the implementation of the State of Emergency and outlines standardized directives in dealing with various scenarios during the lockdown and Covid-19 in general.
Covid-19 committees monitor the situation as it unfolds and are ready to deal with any emergencies. General safety practices such as regular hand-washing and compulsory wearing of face masks and gloves are strictly implemented.