The crew change Indicator for December marked an improvement of the situation and a stably increasing vaccination rate among seafarers. However, new challenges may arise with the spread of the new omicron variant.
Global Maritime Forum’s Indicator, good improvements in seafarer vaccination rates, eased travel restrictions and even regional decreasing infection rates are showing some light at the end of the tunnel for the crew-change crisis and confirm the trend that the crisis has been alleviating.ccording to
Namely, the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has decreased to 4.7% from 7.1% in the last month, and the number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months has also decreased to 0.7% from 1.0%. So far, these are the lowest numbers recorded by the NDCCI since it was first published in May.
We are encouraged by the Indicator’s December numbers, that shine some hope that the holiday season this year will be better for seafarers. The spread of the new omicron variant could however lead to a reversal of these positive trends. It is important that governments treat seafarers as key workers and continue to allow crew changes, when the proper health protocols are respected.
….says Kasper Søgaard, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum.
The Neptune Indicator also reports another positive trends, with an 8.5 percentage point increase in seafarer vaccines, from 41% in November to 49.5% in December as seafarers are increasingly gaining access to vaccines.
Yet, seafarer vaccination rates are at 49.5%, while in comparison the share of the population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the European Union is 66%,3 in Hong Kong 59%, in Japan 78%, in Singapore 92%, in the United Kingdom 68% and in the United States 58%.
Seafarer travel still remains challenging as there are issues with international travel vaccine recognition and approval. This has even led some seafarers to take repeated vaccinations, at an unknown health risk. Finally, access to booster vaccines is likely to become a new challenge in the coming months.