Amid growing discussions on the need to resolve crew change crisis, the 103rd session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 103) adopted recommended actions to prioritize seafarers in national COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
Taking place virtually on 5-14 May, the MSC 103 adopted a resolution on “Recommended action to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers”, recommending that IMO Member States and relevant national authorities prioritize their seafarers, as far as practicable, in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes (taking into account the WHO SAGE Roadmap).
In addition, the resolution recommends proper consideration of extending COVID-19 vaccines to seafarers of other nationalities, taking into account their national vaccines supply.
Member States are also recommended to consider exempting seafarers from any national policy requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry, taking into account that seafarers should be designated as ʺkey workersʺ, as they travel across borders frequently.
Finally, they should develop appropriate plans, where feasible, to provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities to support COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers. Given the limited period of time ships are in port, single-dose COVID-19 vaccines for seafarers would be preferable.
The resolution also invites Member States, international organizations, shipping companies, and other stakeholders to inform seafarers about the safety and possible benefits of the COVID-19 vaccination, bearing in mind that taking the vaccination is a decision made on an individual basis.
Earlier this week, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim issued his personal call for IMO Member States to support fair global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, beyond fulfilling their national needs, to ensure seafarers can access vaccines. Several countries, including the US, the Netherlands, France and Australia have so far unveiled initiatives for seafarers’ vaccination.
Its a good initiative for seaman.should START vaccination assp.