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IFSMA Newsletter Nr.37 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 09:48
Secretary General’s Report
 

Well here we are at the beginning of 2021 and we are all still badly affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), on behalf of the whole maritime industry, are leading the calls
for governments to put seafarers and frontline maritime shore workers at the head of the vaccine queue and to designate seafarers as keyworkers, to avoid a repeat of the 2020 ‘crew change crisis’. ICS and ITF are demanding that governments, who are once again restricting travel as a reaction to new COVID-19 mutations, recognise the vital role seafarers play in the global supply chain.

The shipping industry knows that healthy, 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 (PPE) required as part of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. However, the spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Brazil, South Africa and the UK is contributing to stricter crew change restrictions globally. The Philippines, for example, has expanded its temporary crew change ban to 35 countries, barring foreign seafarers from disembarking at Philippine ports. The UK is banning travellers from South America, and the USA has also toughened its entry requirements.

Some countries are showing strong leadership in support of the maritime community. Singapore’s recentlyannounced Sea – Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE), which will see 10,000 frontline maritime personnel vaccinated for COVID-19 by the end of January. ICS and ITF will be lobbying governments to follow suit.

On 19 January, Guy Platten, Secretary General of ICS, commented: ‘The benefits of vaccinating those responsible for transporting the vaccine and PPE around the world should be obvious. Governments must class seafarers as ‘key workers’ and give them priority access to
the vaccine, as the inability to rotate crews from their ships risks the passage of the critical medical materials needed for the global vaccination effort. If we want to maintain global trade, seafarers must not be put to the back of the vaccine queue. Governments will not be able to inject their citizens without the shipping industry or, most importantly, our seafarers.’

To put as much pressure as we can on nations Governments I hope you will have seen that on 26 January 2021, The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, signed by over 400 organisations and companies across the Maritime Industry and Global Supply Chain, was released to coincide with the World Economic Forum being held remotely from Davos from 25-29 January. Entitled Overcoming the Seafarer Crisis: Enabling Crew Changes and Repatriation. You can see the full document by using this link: https://tinyurl.com/y2ptmdds

Let us hope this can make an impact and please keep safe and well and I welcome your thoughts, ideas and concerns.

Jim Scorer

Please click here to read complete Newsletter:IFSMA NL 37