Nfld. & Labrador

No days off for Oceanex sailors tasked with maintaining supply chain to N.L.

Sailors on board three Oceanex freighters bringing goods into Newfoundland and Labrador are some of the only people allowed to leave and enter the province, but there are restrictions for them.

All ships sailing on regular schedule, but job feels extra important, says officer

Third officer Tyler Stapleton snapped this picture while sailing between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia on board an Oceanex freighter. (Tyler Stapleton/Twitter)

Sailors on board three Oceanex freighters bringing goods into Newfoundland and Labrador are some of the only people allowed to leave and enter the province, but there are restrictions for them.

They are no longer allowed to leave the ship when they arrive at ports in St. John's, Halifax and Montreal, and shift changes have been cancelled for the next two weeks.

On the route between St. John's and Halifax, third officer Tyler Stapleton doesn't mind the extra hours.

"There's sacrifices we make, and sacrifices that other people make, but we're all in this together and eventually we'll get through it," Stapleton told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

Oceanex owner Sid Hynes told CBC News earlier this week that there was no reason for people to panic-shop — supply lines are still open and ships are arriving in St. John's as scheduled.

The Oceanex terminal in St. John's is busy with ships arriving most days of the week from Halifax and Montreal. (Marie Isabelle Rochon/Radio-Canada)

They are carrying everything from cars to groceries and hardware items — "everything you need to run a province," Stapleton said.

Oceanex ships 75 per cent of all goods to St. John's and about half the goods imported to the entire island.

While it's the same schedule they always run, Stapleton said it feels different with the current state of the province.

"Right now it seems more important," he said. "There's so many people behind the scenes as well. We're running this operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week before this pandemic even started. This is a regular operation for us."

Stapleton said people need to think about everyone involved in the supply chain — from the producers, to the truckers, sailors, and those who stock shelves. 

"It's a very long, long chain and every link is just as important as the next."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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