As the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan comes to the forefront, key workers and industries are clamoring to ensure that their workers get the priority in the vaccination plan.
Shippers and seafarers are at the forefront of this, as they are living in a nightmare stranded in their ships or at the shore waiting to join their colleagues. The pandemic restrictions have added to their woes as the crew change crisis took the center stage. In such a condition, there have been unending calls to designate seafarers as key workers which will facilitate their vaccinations on priority in line with front-line workers.
Recently, the UN General Assembly has passed a resolution urging this, and the International Maritime Organisation, IMO has welcomed it.
According to the resolution, seafarers stranded at sea need “An urgent and concrete response from all actors involved, including the private sector” as challenging labor conditions heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic has put seafarers’ personal safety and health in jeopardy.
IMO Welcomes UN Resolution
The IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that the key worker status is crucial to get early vaccination for seafarers and easing the crew change crisis.
“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.
Conduct Crew Change Following COVID Protocol
The resolution adopted on December 1, has asked all stakeholders to take immediate action to address the crew change crisis. Concrete actions are needed to resolve the issue which would enable seafarers to join ships in time and those stuck in ships even after their term get a holiday after months of work.
Furthermore, the UN resolution urged all stakeholders to strictly adhere to the IMO declared COVID protocol while conducting crew changes on ship and shore. All preventive measures advised by port states should be followed during the process.
Seafarers Needed To Keep Supply Chains Active
The IMO Secretary-General further stressed the need for this action as he underlined how months of being stranded at sea is affecting the health and wellbeing of the seafarers who are now facing fatigue and exhaustion.
He pointed out that these seafarers are crucial to maintain the global trade and supply chain momentum.
UN General Assembly Resolution calls for seafarer key worker designation and implementation of crew change protocols; IMO Secretary-General urges priority vaccination.
The United Nations General Assembly has called on UN Member States to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers and to implement relevant measures to allow stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships, and to ensure access to medical care…Click here to view the full article