The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have released a joint statement with several international organisations including the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) urging all United Nations member states to prioritise seafarers and aircrew in their national Covid-19 vaccination programmes.
More than 80% of global trade by volume is moved by maritime transport and the global economy depends on the 2 million seafarers who operate the global fleet of merchant ships.
The statement emphasises that seafarers are key workers and are required to travel across borders, which may require them to present proof of a Covid-19 vaccination to enter some countries. This is happening despite the WHO recommendation for countries not to demand proof of vaccination as a condition of entry.
The organisations call for governments to prioritise seafarer vaccination so shipping transport can continue safely and reiterate their call for countries to designate seafarers as key workers.