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