March 28, 2023

Maritime Today Online

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Seafarer vaccination rate low at just 15.3 % – Survey

The rate of seafarer vaccination stands at just 15.3 percent according to a survey by the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator.

The monthly crew change survey of 10 leading ship managers has been broadened to include COVID-19 vaccination given its importance in resolving the crew change crisis.

With a figure of 15.3 percent of seafarers vaccinated this well below many of the developed countries their ships serve where the percentage of the population fully vaccinated is around 50 percent.

However, seafarers largely come from developing nations where vaccination rates remain low. According to data compiled by Google for the Philippines, 10.7 percent of the population are fully vaccinated, while for India it’s just 8.5 percent of the population.

“Seafarers must be recognized as key workers and given priority access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is key to protect seafarers’ wellbeing and the functioning of global supply chains,” says Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum, Kasper Søgaard,

“Seafarers are starting to get vaccinated, especially those from developed countries. 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.”

The last month has seen Belgium starting to vaccinate all international seafarers and a pilot programme in Port of Rotterdam, adding to ports in the US.

Meanwhile the crew change crisis continues to worsen again and according to the indicator, the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has slightly increased from 8.8 to 9.0 percent in the last month and the number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months has risen from 1 to 1.3 percent.

The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator builds on aggregated data from 10 leading ship managers: Anglo-Eastern, Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Shipmanagement, Fleet Management, OSM, Synergy Marine, Thome, V.Group, Wallem, and Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which collectively have about 90,000 seafarers currently onboard.