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Thursday, December 10, 2020 

Following the worldwide news that vaccines for Covid-19 are now a reality, it is paramount that authorities give priority to seafarers in their vaccination programmes, says dry bulk cargo trade organisation Intercargo.

“As key workers, seafarers should be included in the early stages of a nation’s vaccination programme,” said Chairman Dimitris Fafalios. “As a key element in the drive to reboot the world’s economy, seafarers should receive vaccinations quickly and efficiently. We welcome new initiatives from national authorities and industry bodies to facilitate this and urge that these new initiatives be brought forward and trialled as a matter of urgency, so that seafarers can once again travel safely between their home and their ships, and undertake port operations without the fear of infection.”

Vice-Chairman Capt Jay K Pillai said: “It is of grave concern that at least 3% of all seafarers currently on board ships will be spending a second Christmas at sea, away from their families and friends, and an estimated 20% of all seafarers on board are still not relieved upon completion of their regular contracts, despite flights becoming available. The world is making great strides to combat the personal and economic toll taken by this virus. It is now time for the World Health Organisation to work in the direction of a worldwide acceptable Covid vaccination certificate, both on paper and electronically, and for the unique situation our seafarers face to be recognised.”

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