IMO Secretary General urges priority COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Welcoming a UN General Assembly resolution calling for seafarers to be designated as key workers IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim is urging that seafarers and maritime workers receive priority COVID-19 vaccination to allow them to work and maintain vital global supply chains.

“I hope that the key worker designation will ensure that seafarers can be vaccinated expeditiously. This will go some way to resolving the ongoing crew change crisis,” he said.

The General Assembly resolution, adopted December 1, recognizes the need for an urgent and concrete response from all stakeholders, including the private sector, to resolve the situation of seafarers stranded at sea and/or unable to join ships because of national travel restrictions introduced across the globe as a result of the pandemic.

The resolution also encourages governments and relevant stakeholders to implement IMO-recognized protocols to ensure safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby allowing stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships, taking into account essential preventive measures taken by port states against COVID-19.

Welcoming the adoption of the resolution, Secretary-General Lim said, “Sadly, hundreds of thousands of seafarers, who are vital to maintaining supply chains, remain stranded at sea for months beyond their contracted time. This is causing immense strain, fatigue and exhaustion and is unsustainable. I hope that this call to action will result in positive momentum to resolve the crew change crisis.”

  • Download the full text of the UN General Assembly resolution HERE.
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