International leading catering management and training provider MCTC says the shipping industry must continue to focus on supporting seafarers’ overall wellbeing and health despite the prospect of a silver bullet in the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While the vaccine offers a return to normality, seafarers health still needs to be a priority, it stressed.
Kyriacos Georgiou, MCTC’s Head of Catering & Training, 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 old habits post-COVID-19. Living a wholesome lifestyle will be just as important moving forwards.”
Food Nutritionist, Nichole Stylianou, added: “The World Health Organization (WHO) promoted and encouraged healthy diets and recommended everyone increasing their Vitamin D to tackle the virus. Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), eggs and Vitamin D fortified foods. Your diet impacts on your physical and mental health and it must be rich in all vitamins and minerals. The overall messages were for people to pay close attention to their lifestyle choices.”
MCTC’s Managing Director, Christian Ioannou, added: “During the pandemic the industry’s priority has been to keep seafarers safe through encouraging social distancing, face masks, promoting exercise and a healthy diet. After COVID-19, the industry needs to remember that the workforce must stay healthy. It is always a balance between fresh food and good nutrition and hitting often tight daily catering budgets. This is something MCTC can advise on.”
MCTC has a full Catering Management Service which works within clients’ budgets to control costs. its Catering Management service covers the vessel’s entire catering management needs such as recipe planning, menu management, health and nutrition, including ordering supplies, which all reduce vessel running costs. Clients who sign up to this service also receive the complimentary Catering Competency Development Programme. This training package is designed to increase standards in the galley by training and supporting catering staff.
MCTC believes that catering crews should have a much deeper level of knowledge to ensure they understand the importance of good nutrition and how to cater for different nationalities and health needs.
“The WHO together with Governments stated that leading a healthy lifestyle was paramount in helping to tackle the virus. Here at MCTC, we believe nutrition needs to stay top of the agenda in the maritime industry. The health of our seafarers is important, and we need to keep building a better and healthier industry,” stressed Mr Ioannou.