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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic: IMO

The COVID-19 pandemic has significant impacts on the shipping industry and on seafarers themselves, and IMO is working tirelessly at all levels to find solutions.

Travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world have created significant hurdles to crew changes and repatriation of seafarers, which has led to a growing humanitarian crisis as well as significant concerns for the safety of seafarers and shipping. IMO has intervened promptly by urging its Member States to designate seafarers as key workers, so they can travel between the ships that constitute their workplace, and their countries of residence.

Seafarers have been collateral victims of the crisis

Seafarers have been collateral victims of the crisis, as travel restrictions have left tens of thousands of them stranded on ships, or unable to join ships. IMO has established a Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) to help them out of a variety of critical situations.

IMO is also running a series of regional webinars to discuss and develop best practices aimed at addressing the current challenges seafarers are facing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Seafarer vaccination

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named seafarers as one of the groups of transportation workers to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination in instances of limited supplies. The updated guidance (Juy 2021) for Stage II of its vaccine roadmap from the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) states: "Seafarers and air crews who work on vessels that carry goods and no passengers, with special attention to seafarers who are stranded at sea and prevented from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions."

IMO’s Covid-19 circulars

IMO has sent innumerable circular in connection with Covid 19 covering comprehensively all the issues that have arisen because of the pandemic. We will try to publish those circulars one by one just to bring out the concern IMO has shown towards shipping and seafarers.

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