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Columbia Shipmanagement strikes an industry first by bringing seafarer care to a new level

Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) has taken the issue of seafarer care to a new level with the introduction of a series of initiatives that will promote their health, fitness and well-being to a standard not yet seen in the shipmanagement sector.

As part of its push, CSM has invested in, and is subsidising, ColumbiaCrewCare – a benefits package which offers seafarers life insurance and an investment plan for medical costs, disability provision, pension planning, or house/car purchase – all from a starting cost of €1 per day.

“ColumbiaCrewCare is a cradle to grave benefits package involving minimal and affordable contribution from the seafarer and very real benefits/investments for him or her and their families which are accessible at any time. When it comes to caring about our seafarers, we wanted to demonstrate real commitment and walking the walk as opposed to just talking about care,” said Norman Schmiedl Group Director of Crewing at Columbia.

Adopting a holistic approach to seafarer health and wellbeing, CSM has also launched its ColumbiaFit to assist its crew members get fit and ensure a healthy well-being. Not only will each crew member be equipped with his/her own fitness equipment, but a free phone app will help crew members record their weight loss and is both interactive and fun. It also gives the crew the option to sign up to fitness classes, yoga, relaxation and meditation techniques.

Research indicates that ill-health and obesity increase the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, so CSM has been working with its preferred catering partner MCTC to highlight the importance of nutrition and health eating. It has held a series of seafarer webinars on the issue, with the wellbeing of the seafarer always uppermost.

“We have adopted a holistic approach to the issue of the health and well-being of our seafarers; fresh, nutritious and healthy eating provided by our preferred caterer MCTC; 24/7 mental health support and professional psychological help provided by Mental Health Support Solutions; and now a respectable benefits package for each crew member no matter how junior and a corresponding commitment to fitness,” said Mark O’Neil, President and CEO of Columbia.

“Crew need to no longer feel invisible. Their welfare is very much in our sights and our number one focus. A healthy crew – healthy in body and mind – is a motivated crew, a better crew,” he added.