When the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, the government ordered “certain businesses” to close. The exception to this was key providers like supermarkets and retailers offering “essential goods and services”.
And while other businesses can open “where [employees] cannot work from home”, it’s difficult to see how repairing luxury superyachts, as opposed to repairing something more essential to daily life, is justifiable during a pandemic. Because as reported by CornwallLive on 29 April, Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth recently reopened to do just this.
Danger to people’s health
At the time of writing, figures from the Financial Times estimate that around 48,500 people have died from coronavirus in the UK. And according to figures from Public Health England (PHE), the UK has the second highest death toll in Europe.
Medical and scientific experts criticised the UK government’s handling of the pandemic saying it cost lives. In an article in the Guardian on 15 April, Helen Ward, professor of public health at Imperial College London, said:
It’s now clear that so many people have died, and so many more are desperately ill, simply because our politicians refused to listen to and act on advice.
Ward and her colleagues called for an earlier lockdown and said:
test, trace, isolate. But they decided they knew better.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
And with this expert advice and a shocking death toll now public knowledge, it beggars belief how a superyacht shipyard could reopen.
Shipyard work reopened
Clearly the manual labour of a shipyard can’t be performed at home. But as people’s health, including that of our frontline staff, is at greater risk, it’s difficult to see it as essential work in any way.
In any case, on 26 March Pendennis Shipyard decided to “reduce all but essential activities at the Shipyard”. It said:
Over the last few days we have been working hard to bring all current projects to a safe and controlled position. The vast majority of Pendennis employees have been asked to remain at home with their families until it is safe to return to work.
But Pendennis Shipyard’s joint managing director Toby Allies decided to reopen after consulting with a marine sector trade association and Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth Cherilyn Mackrory. The Canary contacted Mackrory for comment but received no response by the time of publication.
British Marine is the trade association for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry.
Its site reiterates the advice to:
avoid non-essential contact, stop all unnecessary travel and work from home wherever possible
Look after what’s essential
Work of this nature is not essential. The government must demonstrate that it’s putting people’s lives front and centre by putting a ban on such work. Immediately.
The company, in turn, must do the honourable thing and furlough its employees through the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) so they can still have some income. A time of global crisis is not the time to serve the needs of the super-rich.
Featured image via YouTube – Mr Luxury & Flickr – Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?