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InterManager to source vaccines for seafarers, frustrated with global organisations

Photo: CSM Mark O'Neil CEO of CSM
Mark O'Neil CEO of CSM
Ship manager association InterManager is to work privately in sourcing Covid-19 vaccines for its members seafarers frustrated that global efforts for an international programme are yet to bear fruit.

InterManager President Mark O’Neil offered a blunt assessment on international efforts to provide a vaccine programme for seafarers. “Global organisations have talked their way round in circles and still we are no further forward in providing a vaccination programme for seafarers who are vital in ensuring that world trade and aid continues to be delivered.”

In an effort to ensure that the industry’s frontline workers – seafarers – are vaccinated as soon as possible the association aims to source vaccines privately. “InterManager says enough is enough – realising that the international efforts have not been sufficient in recognising the importance of the vaccination of seafarers we will now work on sourcing vaccinations separately through legitimate channels to enable our members to vaccinate their seafarers as soon as possible and to support others within the maritime industry to do the same,” O’Neil said.

Many of the largest managers have already sourced vaccines on an individual basis and the move by InterManager moves to ensure that small-mid-sized managers also have access to vaccines for their seafarers.

The majority of seafarers come from developing countries vaccines roll outs have been slow due to availability. The requirement to receive two doses of most Covid-19 vaccines that are available further complicates the logistics of vaccinating seafarers serving onboard vessels.

Despite the move by the association to source vaccines privately O’Neil stressed that InterManager will continue to collaborate and give full support to the IMO and fellow shipping industry NGOs in sourcing vaccination for seafarers. The issue is the speed at which this taking place. “The IMO is hampered by having to negotiate through the United Nations, World Health Organisation and others. Sitting back and waiting for these bureaucratic institutions is only part of the solution.

“The world’s seafarers need our help and as ship and crew managers we must work together to do all we can to ensure that their lives and livelihoods are protected,” he said.

Over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic just 58 countries have recognised seafarers as essential workers.