International Chamber of Shipping calls for vaccine priority for seafarers
The International Chamber of Shipping calls on governments to place seafarers and shore-based frontline staff at the forefront of the vaccine queue and to appoint seafarers as key workers in order to avoid repeating the difficulties faced by seafarers.
ICS demands that governments, which are once again limiting travel in response to new COVID-19 mutations, understand the critical role played by seafarers in the global supply chain.
The union stresses the importance of safe seafarers in preserving essential goods supplied by nations, including medical supplies such as syringes and personal protective equipment (PPE).
“The benefits of vaccinating those responsible for transporting the vaccine and PPE around the world should be obvious. Governments must class seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to the vaccine. If we want to maintain global trade, seafarers must not be put to the back of the vaccine queue. Governments will not be able to inject their citizens without the shipping industry or, most importantly, our seafarers," says Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS.
The ICS emphasized that unique conditions for vaccinating seafarers are illustrated by the act of shipping. The typical ship, according to the ICS, has a mix of at least three nationalities on board, and sometimes up to thirty. This, they argue, contradicts the right to immunise by ethnicity, which is the current vaccine delivery model.
For the maintenance of global trade, priority access to vaccines for all seafarers, and consistent 'vaccine passport' protocols in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, are seen as important.
Maritime Business World