ICS says seafarers should receive vaccine priority

UK-based International Chamber of Shipping has said that governments worldwide should prioritize seafarers for Covid-19 vaccinations in order to help keep global supply chains operating smoothly.

After a period of gradual relaxation, more stringent port and travel restrictions have been reimposed after new variants of Covid-19 emerged in Brazil, South Africa and the UK. ICS said that the new rules had hampered the ability of shipowners to repatriate hundreds of thousands of seafarers still stuck working on vessels past their contracts.

The London-based shipping association said that “vaccinated seafarers are critical in keeping nations supplied with vital goods. Increasingly in 2021, this will include medical supplies such as syringes and the personal protective equipment required as part of the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines.” The ICS has recommended that seafarers are given clear “vaccine passport” protocols in line with World Health Organization recommendations