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Advocating for key worker status of offshore workers at IMO

Building upon the commitments made in the Neptune Declaration, the shipping industry remains committed to support the rights of seafarers collectively at IMO where IMCA continues to advocate not only for its’ members’ seafarers but also their offshore personnel.

The 103rd session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee held in May this year adopted resolution MSC.490(103) on Recommended action to prioritise COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers. This has now been taken a stage further with the development of a draft Assembly resolution consolidating issues related to crew change, access to medical care, ʺkey workerʺ designation and vaccination to further highlight the relevance of these problems.

The need for the Resolution was emphasised by the wider shipping Industry.

Unfortunately, several IMO Member States did not agree to recognise as key workers ʺother marine personnelʺ which were referred to in the original draft of the Resolution, owing to the lack of a clear definition for this term and the required documentation for these personnel. This means that, the ‘key worker’ status of offshore marine personnel is something which will be addressed by individual member states who may take different positions on this. IMCA is liaising with the European Commission on this issue who may be prepared to tackle this issue at the IMO Assembly later this year. IMCA would be grateful for input from Members on any issues they are experiencing in getting their offshore personnel, other than seafarers, vaccinated or acquiring visas because they are not recognised as keyworkers.

In the context of facilitating seafarersʹ travel across borders MSC agreed not to introduce recognition of seafarersʹ proof of vaccination at this stage since recognition of vaccines was a national public health matter and acceptance of documents issued by other Member States a policy matter of each individual State.

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