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News: UN Agencies Call for Seafarer Covid Vaccination Priority

29 March 2021

Several UN organisations have issued a joint statement calling for seafarers to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations and emphasizing the critical role they play in worldwide trade.

The statement explains that “The global economy depends on the world’s 2 million seafarers” and is signed by the heads of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The statement stresses that “For shipping and air transport to continue to operate safely, the safe cross border movement of seafarers and aircrew must be facilitated” and calls on countries “to designate seafarers and aircrew as key workers” and “prioritize seafarers and aircrew in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes”. The five organisations also use the statement to show their support for the development of a harmonized framework for vaccination certificates to facilitate international travel for seafarers.

The statement has been hailed by the International Chamber of Shipping for highlighting the crew change crisis which they claim has been largely invisible to the wider public.  

The joint statement can be found on the right.  

The Standard Club welcomes the joint statement a step in helping to protect the world’s seafarers and the shipping industry they underpin. The club is a signatory of the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change which defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning:

  • Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
  • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers

Seafarer Wellbeing has been a focal topic for the Standard Club in recent years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic and we continue to raise awareness of the topic and focus on what more we can do to support our seafarers and foster a safer shipping industry.

For more information on Covid-19 and Seafarer wellbeing visit the club’s dedicated website pages available on the right.