Welcome to the 4th quarter of 2020. Ok, let’s face it. Everyone is looking forward to putting 2020 in our wake. I always lament the fact that time seems to move faster every year, but in this case, time can’t move fast enough to get this year behind us.
2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us in the maritime industry. Ports saw volumes slashed (then recover); international cruise lines are still effectively shut down; mariners are still stranded on ships with tours extended beyond a year; the only bright spot seems to be that boat sales are up, which hopefully gets more kids interested in working on the water when they grow up! There could not be much more of a perfect storm – I would prefer the hurricane variety any day (I spent a terrifying 2 days at sea going through Hurricane Hugo back in 1989, but at least I knew there was an end in sight).
Now I am the eternal optimist, and I have enduring faith in the capacity of the human spirit to persevere in the face of adversity. Human ingenuity will solve all of the COVID 19 issues. The timeline for those solutions will likely come more slowly than any of us would like, but they will come. The pace at which we are seeing vaccine developments, rapid testing methods and therapeutic treatments is truly impressive given historic norms. We need more government action to help our industry get back to pre-COVID operational levels, and your voices need to be heard by your elected officials with ideas of how government action (or lack thereof) can impact your segment of the maritime industry.
2020 has given us some positives – more time with family, reconnecting with friends, mastering the video call and time to work on projects at work that we never seem to be able to get to. Like I said, I’m an optimist. 2020 gave me the opportunity to communicate with you, our readers of PMM On Line and Fishermen’s News On Line. For that I am very grateful. But my dear 2020, when that clock strikes midnight on December 31st, don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out!