The Government of India has included seafarers in the priority list for vaccination recognising the nature of their work.
Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the status of vaccination to the seafarers and suggested that the seafaring industry should not get hampered due to non-vaccination.
The Minister emphasized that all efforts should be made to get the seafarers vaccinated before joining their scheduled duties on board.
As India plays a very significant role in the global seafarer industry, several demands came from multiple quarters to accord ‘priority’ to seafarers in the vaccination drive considering the nature of their work.
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (PS&W) is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to give priority to seafarers in COVID vaccination.
As a result of the Port Ministry’s recent efforts, Major Ports have now established Vaccination Centers. Currently, six Major Ports including Mumbai Port Trust, Cochin Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Kolkata Port Trust and Tuticorin Port Trust have started vaccinating seafarers at their port hospital.
Subsequently, a private hospital in Kerala has been built to vaccinate seafarers.
Seafaring Unions/Associations like MASSA, FOSMA and NUSI have also successfully organized special camps for vaccination.
The Ministry of PS&W is actively making efforts to take State Governments on board for including seafarers in their State ‘priority’ list, wherein Kerala, Tamilnadu and Goa have already initiated measures to establish vaccination centres for seafarers.