Maintaining high levels of on-site customer service during the coronavirus pandemic has often been challenging, but not many cases are as extreme as that of Mastan Shaik, Senior Service Engineer at AUMA in Dubai. On 8 March 2020 Mastan arrived in Doha for a service mission on several offshore platforms. This was the start of an almost unbelievable odyssey that would not see him back home for five and a half months.
After a 14-day local quarantine in Doha, on 22 March Mastan arrived at the first offshore platform after an 11-hour boat trip.
The service mission was successful. Changes to the control system had led to problems with the Foundation Fieldbus communication to the AUMA actuators installed on the platform. Working closely with the fieldbus experts at AUMA’s Service headquarters in Cologne, Germany, Mastan was able to fix these problems quickly. In addition, he retrofitted the actuators with overvoltage protection and corrected the torque calibration. Afterwards he repeated the procedure on two other platforms.
His mission complete, Mastan returned to the Port of Doha just one week later, on 28 march. In the meantime, however, the local lockdown had imposed travel restrictions that obliged him to stay in Doha. As week after week went by, he continued to work remotely and support customers from his ‘hotel-office’.
Not until 18 July was Mastan able to get a flight to India, where he had to go through local quarantine regulations all over again. After receiving all the necessary travel permits, on 17 August he was finally able to fly back from India to Dubai.
“The actual service mission only took me a few days, and the customer was very happy with our support, but altogether I was away for almost six months,” says Mastan Shaik. “When I finally got back to Dubai I was very happy and relieved. A big thank you goes to my AUMA colleagues – their support was fantastic during these difficult times!”