On the first day of London International Shipping Week, International Chamber of Shipping published an updated guidance to protect seafarers and shipowners against the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
ICS COVID-19 practical guide, which includes guidance on crew vaccinations.pecifically, this is the second edition of
To remind, despite noted improvements in rates of vaccination for seafarers, only 21.9% are fully vaccinated, and most are not in line to receive a vaccine through their national programmes until at least 2022.
Meanwhile, severe travel restrictions across the world have led to seafarers being stranded on board, some for more than 18 months. This deterrent to existing workers and potential new recruits has stretched global supply chains to breaking point, with shortages of key goods reported, and shipping costs approaching all-time highs.
Following the situation, ICS has worked with a coalition of industry partners to produce new and updated guidance, which aims to empower seafarers and shipowners with the knowledge to protect and support themselves through the next stage of the pandemic.
According to the guidance, as the Delta variant threatens the global south, a part of the world that supplies nearly half of the seafarer workforce, with greater urgency, it is critical that seafarers and shipowners have the resources needed to navigate the next stage of the pandemic.
Why vaccinate seafarers?
Seafarers are required by the nature of their job to travel across the world to locations which have different levels of COVID-19 infections.
COVID-19 vaccines reduce the severity of symptoms or prevent symptoms completely in a vaccinated person. As further information becomes available from studies, there is increasing evidence that they also reduce the likelihood of a vaccinated individual carrying the virus and passing it on to others.
Fully vaccinated people may also be exempted from, or subject to, more relaxed quarantine restrictions and testing requirements for travel and if they are a near contact of a confirmed case. This varies country to country and local regulations must be followed.
The sector has been more united and effective in its response to the pandemic than most sectors. But we must ensure that we maintain this spirit of collaboration and all pull together to anticipate and meet the needs of the world’s hidden key workers – seafarers.
…Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, commented.