Covid-19 vaccinations: updates from ICS and NAMMA

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) have recently updated guidance in regard to vaccination of seafarers, American Club has informed its members

The ICS has published a Coronavirus (Covid-19) Roadmap for Vaccination of International Seafarers that sets forth a framework to establish vaccination hubs dedicated to seafarers across the world, alongside other major maritime NGOs.

The roadmap sets out procedures for a programme that can be implemented by all stakeholders concerned to facilitate safe ship crew vaccination during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, The North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) has reported that local seafarers’ welfare organizations in ports around the US were facilitating vaccines for foreign seafarers at local pharmacies and with local health providers, where this was possible. In some locations there was the possibility of health officials coming to the ship to vaccinate crew.

Near many ports in the US pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Publix and Rite-Aid were ready to welcome foreign seafarers, though there were differences on what forms of identification were required and whether appointments were needed. The NAMMA website at: offers more information.

North of England has also noted the roll out of vaccinations in parts of the US and in the Netherlands for foreign seafarers, as well as the updated ICS vaccination “roadmap”. However, it advised caution, stating that “whilst we can understand the attraction for shipowners in arranging for crew to be vaccinated which should benefit both the shipowner and the crew, we would recommend that it is first given full and proper consideration and that the expert advice of employment lawyers and/or medical negligence experts in the relevant jurisdictions are consulted.”

North said that, when choosing a clinic, members should be aware that should there be any resultant problems (eg serious side effects or the efficacy of the vaccine) the Member might be required to demonstrate that due diligence was exercised regarding all arrangements and the clinic used.

North also advised that any contracts entered into were carefully reviewed to ensure that the relevant medical facilities were fully insured against any serious medical issues and that Members were not required to waive all rights of recovery in the unfortunate event of a claim.