The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) issued a circular on Friday June 25th, the “Day Of The Seafarer” which outlined plans to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to all seafarers on Cyprus-flagged and Cyprus-managed vessels. This was said to consist of about 40,000 people.
SDM Vassilios Demetriades said that Cyprus was also exploring the potential to become a vaccination hub for all visiting seafarers, proactively supporting long-term progress for seafarer welfare.
Vaccinations will be administered by qualified medical staff to all seafarers working on board Cyprus-flagged ships, irrespective of the location of the vessel. Certificates will be provided. Vaccines will also be available to all seafarers serving on board vessels calling at Cypriot ports, regardless of flag, with close ties to Cyprus – such as ships managed by companies based in the country.
Cyprus was also exploring the possibility of becoming a vaccination hub. However, this would rely on a proportion of surplus vaccines from other countries being made available for seafarers.
The SDM noted that Cyprus was one of the first countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and to implement a formal crew-change process. The Ministry said that these measures had resulted in more than 20,000 seafarers being repatriated or able to return to work since May 2020.
Cyprus then presented a proposal for a global seafarers’ vaccination program to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General, the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Transport Federation and the European Union. This was developed into a formal resolution that has been officially adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Demetriades said that “we remain committed to finding a realistic approach to a global seafarer vaccination programme. This responsibility starts at a national level, which is why we are providing vaccines to all seafarers on Cyprus-flagged and Cyprus-managed vessels.