In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, SuperyachtNews speaks Paris Baloumis, Oceanco’s marketing director, in order to ascertain how the superyacht building behemoth is operating under the new conditions and how the business has safeguarded the interests of its employees, subcontractors and clients.
“Oceanco is operating in full compliance with the governmental guidelines and beyond to guarantee the safety and health of all colleagues involved,” starts Baloumis. “Whilst most colleagues work remotely, we have focused largely on safeguarding our production process. We have implemented working in shifts, distancing guidelines, thermal monitors at entry points and introduced additional cleaning rounds. We have effective and secure IT systems in place that enable our teams across all areas of the business to continue our services from their remote places of work. We have re-assigned colleagues from various disciplines to offer their support to projects that are currently under construction.”
Health and safety, according to the shipyard, is the number one priority with measures having been taken to limit the social and economic impact of the disease in order to protect its teams, comakers, subcontractors, suppliers, clients and the extended list of individuals and businesses that Oceanco engages with.
“In order to protect our clients’ interests, we are focussing on what we had promised and safeguarding our production process. In addition, we continue with our investments on product and process innovation, focussing on meaningful innovations that provide benefits to clients,” continues Baloumis. “We do not innovate for the sake of innovation. We keep an eye on those innovations that are meaningful and useful.
“Oceanco is focussing principally on the client projects we have under construction and in the design development phase. Resources have been prioritised accordingly. We have reassured and made our clients aware of this. Oceanco has ensured a safe working environment through its enhanced safety measure to ensure that our craftspeople can continue working, as we have contracts and deadlines to meet and we plan to deliver as promised. We have the challenge to keep on track to deliver as promised and even exceed expectations. In addition, we have extended our quay side facilities to our existing Oceanco fleet to act as a safe have option if desired.”
Baloumis does concede, however, that Oceanco will be affected in much the same way other businesses, especially where the uncertainty a round the disease is concerned. That being said, the yard is determined to keep its craftsmen and employees gainfully employed, as well as keeping in close contact with various market stakeholders through the various IT solutions that have become the new normal. That being said, Baloumis does believe that there are some positives to derive from this unique situation,
“The understand that we depend more than ever of innovation. We will come out of this pandemic with different values, with more focus on responsible yacht building. We are using this to explore even more important avenues towards sustainability and building greener,” explains Baloumis. “We embarked on this vision a few years ago and we see that there will be a new normal and we want to stay ahead of the curve. The key to starting ahead is that this forward and meaningful innovation cannot be defined or developed by a few people alone. In fact, innovations benefit from collaboration with experts in their field, that is why we look across the entire industry and not just within our own company.
“Innovation is good only if it is useful…We have to keep looking for added value for our clients based on the trends and technological developments. For example, health care on board of yachts is now a theme that we are researching. The other lesson is that we need to stay pragmatic and prioritise opportunities. We don’t have infinite time and resources. We have to account for economics. When something makes economic sense, then we have a strong case for implementation.”
According to The Superyacht Agency, Oceanco has delivered an average of 1.3 vessels annually over the last decade with its most prolific year coming in 2018 when it delivered three projects with an average LOA of 101.9m. With no deliveries scheduled for 2020 and three due in 2021, one of which has already been launched, one could argue that Oceanco is in a better position that some shipyard given that it has more time to adjust its delivery schedules to account for the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
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