The Nautilus Federation has issued a statement calling on a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers

The Nautilus Federation has issued a statement calling on a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers

The Nautilus Federation, a group of 22 leading trade unions representing seafarers and inland waterways workers, has issued a statement calling on governments and global organisations to coordinate a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers and Inland Waterways Transport crew.

The Federation Unions believe that the current Crew Change Crisis could be mitigated by an international response to vaccination of maritime and shipping professionals. There are fears that the nature of their work is likely to cause seafarers to be away from home when invited to take part in vaccination schemes in their own country, as national programmes continue to be rolled out.

It has been well documented that seafarers have struggled to receive medical attention ashore due to Covid-19 protocols in various countries, and an international response will also assist in resolving such failures.

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The joint statement notes that vaccination policies and authorisations by government agencies differ in many jurisdictions and calls for seafarers receiving a vaccine outside of their country of domicile only to receive a vaccine authorised by the regulatory body of their home country. The statement also reflects on the importance of seafarers receiving information on the vaccination they receive in English and in their own language.

While the majority of vaccines authorised by the World Health Organization (WHO) require a regimen of two doses for full protection to be offered, the statement highlights the importance of seafarers being able to access the required number of doses within the timescales recommended by the WHO. Those seafarers who experience side effects as a result of the vaccination must be provided with access to medical advice and medical care where necessary.

The statement adds:

  • Any vaccinations authorised by the WHO must be recognised as valid for seafarer travel and transit through any national jurisdiction
  • Seafarers who have not yet been able to receive a vaccination must be permitted to travel to and from their country of domicile and their place of work without restriction, including via commercial aviation, for the duration of the global seafarer vaccination programme
  • An education programme targeted towards seafarers should be created to counter the effects of anti-vaccination propaganda and disinformation.

Nautilus Federation director, Mark Dickinson says: “There are specific characteristics of the maritime and shipping industries which call for a specific position encouraging vaccination as maritime and shipping professionals must travel to do their job. This places them at additional risk and to mitigate that risk and to protect employment, vaccination is an obvious step.

“Nautilus Federation affiliates, in supporting this statement, recognise that maritime and shipping professionals – the keyworkers who have kept global supply chains moving throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – will require an international solution to ensure they can access vaccines while they are at sea. Whilst national vaccination programmes progress, governments and global organisations must also recognise this urgent and growing need.”

Source: Press Release

Nautilus Federation unions call for global seafarer vaccination programme

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