The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has joined a call by European boating industry associations for support from the EU to address the Covid-19 outbreak and its profound effects on the sector.
Eighteen associations have signed a policy paper from the European Boating Industry (EBI) which outlines a series of suggested responses “to ensure that companies survive the crisis and can secure jobs” — jobs which, it says, number some 280,000 in 32,000 companies across the EU.
These responses include the introduction of a voucher scheme for tourism activities, open borders for goods and deliveries, as well as a risk-based approach to restarting marinas, production and tourism in anticipation of the summer season.
EBI also calls for “strong communication from the European Commission and national governments to inspire consumer confidence in the safety and attractiveness of maritime tourism”.
Regarding the local situation in Ireland, the IMF says it has opened channels of communication with the HSE with relation to the marine sphere “and the many issues that exist within our industry”.
And following its call for marine industry staff to be recognised as essential workers, the federation refers to its response from the office of Business Minister Heather Humphreys with a guidance list of services deemed essential.
The IMF recommends that any specific queries in relation to Covid-19 and measures to mitigate its impact on the maritime transport sector should be sent to [email protected]
“I think it is fair today that the business situation is foremost in all our minds and what we can do to continue trading, in whatever capacity, to keep the light on over the door until we come out the other said,” said chairman Paal Janson in a letter to IMF members.
In the meantime, the IMF says it is in regular contact with industry associations, as well as marina owners and operators, the world over “in an effort to understand the issues that marine industries in other countries are going through and any relevance that may have to us in Ireland”.
Janson added: “The federation will continue to work on [members’] behalf and do whatever it can to support its members and help them through this difficult time.”
The EBI policy paper is attached below.