The seamen fear the negative effects of countries’ practices such as vaccination card and unaccepted vaccines on maritime trade.
The fact that countries have loosened pandemic restrictions and vaccination practices have become widespread reflected positively on global trade. While there has been a significant increase in cargoes transported by sea, the countries may refuse some vaccines has caused concern. The shipowners fear that countries will impose a requirement for crews to be vaccinated before entering the port or a specific vaccine to be accepted.
International Chamber of Shipping / ICS warned that the countries’ requirement of the crew to be vaccinated in the upcoming period could even result in navigation cancellations. The chamber drew attention to the fact that vaccination efforts of more than half of the approximately 900,000 seamen may last until 2024.
Shipowners are concerned that the case of the port’s state refusing to vaccine for the crew will complicate the picture further and turn into a crisis similar to the crew replacement crisis.
To prevent disruptions in maritime trade, many options are being evaluated by the umbrella organizations of the sector, including establishing units in ports where seamen can be vaccinated.
Evaluating the issue, ICS Secretary General Guy Platten said, ‘‘We see that states are already requesting evidence of Covid-19 vaccine for seamen. If our employees cannot cross international borders, there will be serious disruptions in the supply chain. This is absolutely unacceptable for a sector that contributes to global vaccination practices.”