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COVID-19 no excuse for downplaying importance of health

importance of health

The pandemic is a wake-up call for more emphasis on seafarers’ health and wellbeing

COVID-19’s threat to world health is nothing less than catastrophic, but seafarers’ overall wellbeing and health is not to be placed at the backburner. Though the arrival of the vaccine may be delightful news to many, it is already touted as “not a silver bullet” against the ongoing threat, more so with the mutated strain from the United Kingdom actively making its rounds. It is a known fact that daily catering budgets have been cut for economic reasons.

Importance of healthy living
Kyriacos Georgiou, Head of Catering & Training from MCTC, an international maritime catering management and training enterprise said: “COVID-19 has really shaken up the industry to focus on health which has been fantastic. Governments advised people to focus on exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle and they listened. My fear now is that people will resort to pre-COVID-19 habits. Living a wholesome lifestyle will be equally important moving forward.”

MCTC’s Nutritionist, Nichole Stylianou seconded: “The World Health Organisation (WHO) promoted healthy diets and encouraged increased Vitamin D intake, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system. It can be found in mushrooms, fatty fish and eggs. Your diet impacts your physical and mental health. Hence, it has to be rich in all nutrients.”

The dilemma of costs
Despite pressing priorities, costs have always been at the forefront of shipowners’ reluctance to invest in healthier options. Erik Kroken, Managing Director of Netherland-based supplies distributor, B&S Bosman Global, observed an increased focus on healthier meals. “There is a trend towards vegetarian food and healthier options like protein bars and cereals,” he commented.

MCTC’s Managing Director, Christian Loannou remarked, “The industry’s priority has been to keep seafarers safe through social distancing, face masks and promoting healthy lifestyles. After COVID-19, the industry needs to remember that the workforce must stay healthy.” He however added it is always a balance between fresh food, good nutrition and tight budgets.

Costs will always be a concern in the near future while the world slowly recovers. Shipowners and charterers can look to Marine Online’s extensive network for ship supplies at competitive costs.