The plight of seafarers isn’t going unnoticed in times of COVID-19 vaccinations. Seafarers’ vaccinations have become a priority issue now in order to keep maritime trade intact.
Manning groups have added their plea into this by calling for seafarers’ vaccinations in the Philippines. Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte is flooded with requests from different groups who are asking the government to include seafarers in the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program.
The Philippines is the largest supplier of seafarers in the world.
Seafarers Vital for Trade
The Association of Licensed Manning Agencies (ALMA) Maritime Group lauded the government’s efforts and asked to include seafarers in it as they are key workers.
“Deemed as key workers who are vital to maintaining supply chains, Filipino seafarers are counted upon by the international shipping community to man ocean-going vessels. They are responsible for carrying essential commodities such as food, medicines, and fuel all over the world,” said Iris Baguilat, the lawyer representing ALMA group.
The group has more than 50 crew agencies under them which amounts to more than 100,000 Filipino seafarers.
The organizations that joined ALMA’s call include:
- the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP)
- the United Filipino Seafarers (UFS)
- the Mariners’ & Allied Transport Employees Union (MATEU)
- the Stella Maris-Manila, supported by Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Vice-Admiral Robert Empedrad
Critical To Retain Seafarers’ Jobs
“This is a challenging endeavor, even for other maritime countries, and we are appreciative of the government’s efforts. As the government plans to distribute free vaccines, we request to give free vaccines to Filipino seafarers,” a letter from ALMA revealed.
Other countries have already vaccinated seafarers which makes the situation quite tough for Filipino seafarers who has to compete with them to survive in the maritime industry
Filipino seafarers and their families will lose employment as they won’t be travel-ready without the vaccine. This is detrimental for the labor force of the country, says ALMA
Early vaccination is the key to ensure the safety and well-being of the seafarers and also of the industry. This will largely Stabilize the economy of the country as trade flourishes, says ALMA