An Urgent Call for Seafarers’ Vaccination Against COVID-19

The President of the World Maritime University (WMU), Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, has joined the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor, Mr Kitack Lim, in calling for Governments to ensure COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers.

In a statement, Dr Doumbia-Henry emphasized that fair distribution and access to COVID-19 vaccines are vital for seafarers. “This is an urgent call for Governments across the world to ensure that seafarers are vaccinated if we want to ensure that global trade continues to help deliver the goods, food and amenities that we all need and rely upon each day. Shipping is the most cost effective means of transport. All relevant UN organizations, including the IMO, ILO and the maritime industry have agreed that seafarers are key workers. Seafarers' tour of duty is normally for a duration of between six months and 11 months at sea. An overwhelming number are still awaiting repatriation, 16 months after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The majority of seafarers today come from the developing world, and many have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccines available for distribution in their own countries.”

If shipping is to continue to transport the goods we need around the world, it is critical for all seafarers to be vaccinated. This should be made possible in all ports around the world in view of the global nature of the industry.

WMU wishes to join the call for the urgent vaccination of all seafarers irrespective of country of origin and this possibility should be made available as much as possible in ports around the world. This is the most effective way to ensure that shipping continues without major disruption.

To access the IMO call urging fair vaccine distribution for seafarers, click here.

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