A joint statement signed by the heads of five United Nations bodies on Friday has called for seafarers to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccinations. The World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation, International Maritime Organisation and other UN bodies are urging all member states to prioritise seafarers and aircrew in their national Covid-19 vaccination programmes.
Member states were strongly encouraged to take urgent action to address this issue and work with their health, immigration, border control and maritime authorities, at both national and local levels, to support the seafarers that the world needs for a socio-economic recovery from Covid-19.
Welcoming the news, Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), commented: “ICS and other organisations have been lobbying hard to get this recognition for seafarers and we urge governments across the globe to heed the call from the United Nations and recognise the fact that successful vaccination programmes will rely on those hidden heroes who deliver the vaccines and PPE around the world. Seafarers are a vital part of the vaccine roll out and need to be vaccinated themselves, and not forgotten.”
There’s a call for an interoperable global system of Covid certificates to allow seafarers to cross borders
The UN bodies’ joint statement also recognised the need for an interoperable global system of Covid certificates to allow seafarers to continue to cross borders on a day-to-day basis.