Make the UK an international seafarer vaccination hub, urge Nautilus and UK Chamber of Shipping
9 April 2021
Nautilus International and the UK Chamber of Shipping have urged Maritime Minister Robert Courts MP to support establishing the UK as an international seafarer vaccination hub, where seafarers of all nationalities can access Covid-19 vaccines while their vessels are in ports around the UK.
In a joint letter to the minister, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson and UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Bob Sanguinetti wrote: 'In many nations, seafarers are not being prioritised for vaccination by their domestic vaccination programmes. Without such prioritisation, the shipping industry will need to develop a global solution for seafarers to access vaccines while away from home.
'We believe that the UK can take the lead in calling for a global solution and that to do so would be to pre-empt and to mitigate issues likely to be faced by seafarers travelling internationally, such as the need for vaccination passports to facilitate travel.
'With the UK as a global maritime leader and the home of the International Maritime Organization, we feel that a UK international seafarer vaccination hub will be an ideal showcase of the UK’s maritime offer to the world.'
Mr Dickinson and Mr Sanguinetti further argue that this move would mitigate difficulties faced by seafarers in accessing coronavirus vaccines and therefore prevent further disruption to global trade.
As keyworkers, who spend months at a time away from home onboard their vessels, seafarers face significant barriers in accessing domestic vaccination programmes.
The letter comes ahead of global talks on a range of key maritime issues, including access to vaccinations for seafarers, which are due to take place at the International Labour Organization between 19-23 April 2021.
Union slams Scottish flip flopping on key worker hotel quarantine
Scotland introduced exemption from managed quarantine for seafarers from 20 March. Although it applies to those repatriated in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), Scotland is using a very strict interpretation of what is and is not repatriation.
New Covid testing arrangements in force from 6 April 2021 for seafarers entering UK
Following the successful Nautilus campaign to gain hotel quarantine exemptions for seafarers, some further changes have been made to the legal requirements when entering the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.