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Lesson 2 Case Study - Cruise Ship repatriation

Pennsylvania State University
The last two years have been unprecedented to say the least. The Covid pandemic has
resulted in countries closing their borders, businesses shuttering their doors and mass exoduses in
some regions. The cruise ship industry has been hit particularly hard with the prolonged closure
of access ports for cruise ship lines and the necessity to repatriate tens of thousands of employees
to points around the globe. According to Chris Frame, there were more than 100,000 cruise ship
employees in May 2020 that were awaiting repatriation. General Antonio Guterres, United
Nations Secretary, expressed concern over the growing humanitarian crisis and security
challenges facing seafarers around the world (IMO, 2020).
The Project
The repatriation efforts of cruise lines are a complex, expensive and time-consuming
project. A project is something that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and with a
definite start and end time.
There are many stakeholders in this situation. Stakeholders can be internal or external.
For instance, cruise ship lines, cruise ship workers, families of the workers, countries where
cruise ships travel, companies that provide goods and services to the cruise ships and the airlines
who frequently provide travel for cruise ship workers are all stakeholders who are affected by the
ships being “stuck at sea.” Of these many stakeholders, I will discuss two: cruise ship lines and
the workers.
The cruise ship lines are affected mainly by lost revenue and increased expenses. For
example, according to Captain Kate McCue of Celebrity Cruises, each repatriation project takes
eight hours, has eight ship maneuvers, two rescue boats and seven launch boat operations
(McCue, 2020). Repeated extensions of cruise ship workers cannot be sustained without serious
consequences for the health of the seafarers and the safety of the ships they operate (IMO, 2020).
The ship workers are affected by being away from their families for extended lengths of time and
their health and emotional well-being takes a toll. Another issue for cruise ship workers is that
they are not able to work at sea and there are limited opportunities on land. The loss of income is
causing severe financial hardship for the workers and their families. As of July 21, 2021, there
were 250,000 seafarers on board commercial vessels and unable to be repatriated who have
expired contracts (IMO, 2020).
Stakeholder management is essential because it will identify critical project stakeholders
and manage them within the context of the project development. Organizations need to consider
internal and external factors when making decisions. Stakeholder management will perform a
stakeholder analysis, which amplifies irresolvable conflicts that occur through planned creation
and introduction of any new project (Pinto, 2018, pg. 43).
Stakeholder management is challenging because the project manager must find ways to
balance all difficulties from each of the stakeholders while maintaining a positive relationship
with everyone. According to Block, there are six steps of managing stakeholders: (1) assess the
environment (2) identify the goals of principal actors (3) assess capabilities (4) define the
problem (5) develop solutions and (6) test and refine the solutions (Pinto, 2018, pg. 47).
Repatriation efforts is an arduous task that is expensive and results in lost revenue for
internal and external stakeholders, lost wages, emotional distress for workers, health issues for
workers, and countries where the cruise lines dock are also affected by lost revenue directly
affecting local economies. Stakeholder management will be a useful tool in the repatriation
efforts. Cruise lines will benefit from using stakeholder management because the project
manager will define problems and conflicts within each level of the project. After defining the
problems, the project manager will develop solutions and then test and revise the solutions.
Keeping in mind that all solutions need to satisfy the stakeholders simultaneously.
IMO. (2020). Crew changes and repatriation of seafarers: a priority issue. Retrieved from International
Maritime Organization: https://www.imo.org/fr/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/FAQ-on-crewchanges-and-repatriation-of-seafarers.aspx
McCue, C. K. (2020, November 12). Repatriating cruise ship crew during a pandemic [Video]. Retrieved
from YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=JmxQifa8UKk
Pinto, J. (2018, pg. 43). Project Management. Available from VitalSource Bookshelf, (5th Edition).
Pearson Education.