Low Seafarer Vaccination Rates Likely Contributing to Crew Change Crisis

(Source: Pixabay)

Despite the coordinated efforts in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in large shipping nations in Europe, Asia, and North America, the share of vaccinated mariners remains low and is likely contributing to the persistent crew change crisis, according to new data from the monthly update on the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator. Alarmingly, the aggregate data from the 10 leading ship managers shows that only 15.3 percent of seafarers are vaccinated.

“Programs in the US and some European countries are offering vaccines to international seafarers, but many more countries must follow suit to solve the crew change crisis,” stated Kasper Sogaard, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum.

Ship managers identify countries with developing economies, such as the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Latvia, as the areas with the largest challenge in securing vaccines. The continual high infection rates and subsequent domestic lockdowns are cited as the greatest challenge of the crew changes crisis, particularly for mariners in Eastern Europe, due to the low supply of vaccines.

Despite these concerns over the low vaccination rate among seafarers, the report did suggest the number of mariners working beyond their 11-month contract limit outlined by the Maritime Labor Convention should stabilize soon. The organizers of the report still cautioned, however, that it is critical to take additional steps, such as vaccination, to protect the health and safety of mariners and the industry at large.

We at the Herd Law Firm often represent crewmembers who have been injured or become ill due to dangerous conditions aboard ships. Sadly, that now includes crewmembers who were exposed to and diagnosed with COVID while working aboard ship, in part because the shipowners or governments did not do what was necessary to be sure they are vaccinated before they come aboard.

The above is a summary of one or more news stories reviewed by the author of this article. It may contain comments or views of the author only.

This article is intended for general interest and does not constitute legal advice.

Let’s Discuss Your Case

If you or someone that you know has contracted COVID-19 while on board a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. If so, call the law offices of the Herd Law Firm, PLLC for a risk-free evaluation of your potential case.

Call 713-955-3699 now!

We Are Here To Answer Your Questions