The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has launched a vaccination guide for seafarers and shipping companies which aims to tackle the spread of vaccine misinformation among crews, amid a time where vaccines are becoming a new political hot potato for the ongoing crew change crisis.
Currently, social media is the main way through which seafarers keep in touch with family and loved ones while at sea, but it can also lead to the spread of inaccuracies around vaccines. Some crew may also be reticent due to religious concerns over vaccines containing alcohol or meat products. The problem they face with the advent of vaccine passports is no jab, no job – potentially leading to severe crew shortages in the coming months.
The new ICS guide includes straightforward information on the different types of vaccine available globally, and their safety benefits for all parties involved in global maritime.
The guide has been co-produced with the International Maritime Health Association, Intertanko, and the International Transport Federation (ITF).
Guy Platten, ICS secretary general said: “The guide includes straightforward information on the different types of vaccine available globally, and their safety benefits for all parties involved in global maritime. This is to counter anti-vaxx misinformation circulating online that might be dissuading crew from taking up the vaccine.”
The launch comes as various nations are considering launching restrictive vaccine passport schemes, which ICS has warned could put shipowners in a very tricky position. It could also exacerbate the ongoing crew change crisis, with concern that the figure of 200,000 seafarers impacted could rise if more countries begin requesting seafarers are vaccinated before ships can enter their ports.