Singapore is making available at least 12,000 vaccine doses for international seafarers for the next phase of its crew vaccination programme.

Singapore started vaccinating non-resident seafarers its Sea Crew Vaccination (SEAVAX) Initiative in August, and the next phase of the scheme took effect from 15 November and runs through 30 June 2022.

To date more than 8,000 non-Singaporean sea crew have received at least one vaccination dose in the Republic, and 90% are fully vaccinated. These comprise 5,200 resident crew working in harbour waters, and 2,800 non-resident crew.

Under the SEAVAX initiative international seafarers can be vaccinated with one dose of Moderna either while undertaking crew change in Singapore or when their vessels call at the port. The vaccine is available as first, second and booster shots with costs fully borne by the industry.

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO commented: “I am heartened to hear of the extension of the programme to make available at least 12,000 vaccine doses to vaccinate sea crew onboard ocean-going vessels calling at Singapore and signing on to ships in Singapore. Initiatives like this strengthen my belief that we will be able to overcome the crew change crisis and safeguard the health and well-being of our seafarers as we strive to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.”

While vaccination for international seafarers is available in the US and a growing number of European states, Asian countries have been slow to follow suit.

Singapore could provide more than 12,000 doses of vaccine if it sees demand from industry.

Singapore is ready to provide more vaccines beyond the 12,000 doses if there is further demand from the shipping lines and seafarers,” said Chee Hong Tat, Singapore Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport.

The vaccination programme is undertaken by the Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (STAR) Taskforce, an international tripartite alliance led by the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA).

 Singapore’s crew change programme also continues and it is expected that 200,000 crew exchanges will have been facilitated by end-December since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Currently the number stands at close to 190,000.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News