A Nelson marine engineering company that was on the brink of mass redundancies is breathing a sigh of relief after it appears its pleas for help were answered.
Aimex, which is a ship builder and repairer, was looking at cutting 40 percent of its workforce due to overseas vessels not being allowed to come into New Zealand.
General manager Simon Lavery had requested that the vessel, Captain Vincent Gann and its workers, be allowed to come from American Samoa, be quarantined and, if necessary, tested for Covid-19 so they could undertake repair work.
However, until last Friday, Aimex wasn’t sure if that would happen.
“It looks like we have had a bit of a win,” says Simon.
New rules established by the Government allows shipping routes to keep open and include a new maritime exception that will allow entry to those arriving at the maritime border, where there is a compelling need for the vessel to travel to New Zealand.
Most maritime journeys to New Zealand take more than 14 days, so crew and others are expected to self-isolate on route.
Simon says that he is yet to hear the details but is confident that Aimex’s clients will fit the bill.
“Common sense has prevailed on the day. We have got the outcome that we needed and have a lot of people to thank. We received a lot of good support.”
He says that the workforce was relieved when he told them that plans to make them redundant had been shelved.
“There is already a sense of relief on their faces. They have kids and families and bills to pay. That’s the reality of it.”
Simon says that the Government move will also give confidence to other vessels that they have planned to work on. “It cements our business.”