India: Marine Agencies Stress On Early Second Dose Of Covid-19 Vaccine For Seafarers
COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent, and everyone around the world is busy taking their vaccination doses. In such a time, five marine agencies have forwarded an appeal to the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) to make the second vaccination for the seafarers faster and easier. Given the safety against the pandemic, the agencies submitted an urgent appeal.
Earlier the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released an SOP directing specific categories of citizens to get vaccinated with the second dose earlier. The seafarers under ‘overseas employment came under this specific category. As per the SOP, the directive applies until August 31.
Five marine agencies- FOSMA, MASSA, INSA, ICCSA and CMMI- collectively appealed to categorize seafarers under the ‘priority section and extend the SOP directive’s validity beyond August 31. Thus, it would help the marine professionals to get their second dose of vaccination beyond the specified limit of 28 days.
Captain Sankalp Shukla, Chairman, Foreign Shipowners Representatives and Ship Managers Association, stated, ‘The relaxation was issued for three specific category of citizens. One was the Olympic sportspersons, second was the citizens employed aborad and third came the students who are studying abroad. However, the seafarers too come under the category of citizens employed aboard. Keeping that in mind, the five marine agencies forwarded a joint appeal to the ministry through the DG Shipping office to extend the relaxation of the 28 day gap between two vaccine doses for seafarers.’
Seafarers constantly need to work abroad, and they transport more than 80% of the goods around the globe. Also, they work in every condition- no matter how challenging it becomes. Shiv Halbe, CEO of Maritime Association of Ship-owners Ship-managers and Agents (MASSA), stated, ‘A fully vaccinated Indian seafarer is more preferable for work and carries low risk onboard a vessel. As such, the government should think about the employability and well-being of the seafarers.’