Some countries, and more specifically their port organizations, require ship crews to be vaccinated as a prerequisite for entry into their ports and even insist on a specific vaccine brand.
"This is of course a very serious problem for the industry as a whole if we consider the high percentage of seafarers coming from developing countries without any access to any vaccine," says Dimitris Fafalios, President of INTERCARGO.
"However, the dry bulk sector bears the brunt of this uncertainty due to the nature of its business. "Bulk carriers go to many more ports than other ships of different types and are therefore at the mercy of the vaccination policy, which applies to the port they go to load and unload."
"Coordinating a global vaccination program for seafarers within the WHO and making WHO-approved vaccinations available to seafarers in their country of origin is an urgent priority. In addition, universal commitments to collective action are imperative in resolving the humanitarian crisis at sea over crew changes to keep world trade afloat. "
INTERCARGO believes that world leaders need to ensure that seafarers are defined and treated as key workers and have access to a priority vaccination program. that they do not miss the vaccination while traveling to work and that they can access the required number of doses within the time limits recommended by the WHO.
Government leaders must commit to collective action and take responsibility for those who do not consider seafarers' well-being to be a humanitarian issue, but seafarers responsible for maintaining world trade.