by Staff Reporter
THE Oceana Namibia Group is making sure its employees who have to continue working during the Covid-19 lockdown and their families remain sustained.
The group has a long history of operating in the Namibian fishing industry through its subsidiaries Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) and Commercial Cold Storage (CCS), and its associate company Etosha Fishing Corporation.
The group provides permanent jobs to more than 1 000 Namibians.
“We have all been called on to serve our country in these difficult times. We will do so with courage and perseverance. Your health and safety remain our top priority during this period,” Oceana management told employees while food parcels were distributed recently.
Parcels with essential items have been distributed among crew members aboard vessels, while land-based employees received food parcels. Food parcels were delivered to the homes of the family members of crew out at sea.
On top of this, the Oceana Group established a fund to benefit all employees who have contributed during this challenging time to ensure they are taken care of beyond the immediate impact of Covid-19.
The group expressed its commitment to uninterrupted food supply to the most vulnerable communities in Namibia and beyond. All its companies have been certified as essential service providers.
Oceana Group CEO Imraan Soomra urged strict adherence to all health and safety protocols. He said staff safety, health and flattening the Covid-19 infection curve are key priorities.
“There is no doubt the lockdown measures announced by government will have deep and lasting economic effects, but our first priority must be to save lives. Businesses can be rebuilt and jobs regained, but lives cannot,” Soomra said.
Many employees of Oceana, operating in Namibia, South Africa and the United States, have been working throughout the lockdown to continue securing and producing food.
“Our first duty is to ensure that our employees and their families remain safe, are well taken care of and that we sustain their jobs,” EME managing director Marhya Uumati said.
EME is a leading employer in the local horse mackerel sector. Most workers opted to continue working on the company’s horse mackerel freezer trawlers, which are out at sea and effectively quarantined, instead of sitting at home on lockdown without earning fishing commission.
Workers at Etosha Fishing’s cannery, the only remaining operational cannery in Namibia, have 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 Industrialisation and Trade.
Oceana Namibia companies operate under strict safety and precautionary measures to ensure no staff member is potentially exposed to Covid-19.