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28 February 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 14:03 GMT+1

January 21, 2021

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Open letter from ecsa and etf to EU summits to facilitate the changes of ship crews

Priority access to vaccination for Maritime

The European shipowners' association ECSA and the European trade union etf transport workers sent an open letter to the European Union summits in which they urge EU states to allow ship crew changes to take place without further delays and to ensure priority access for seafarers vaccination campaigns for the Covid-19 health crisis.

"The Covid-19 pandemic - wrote the Secretary of general of the European Community Shipowners' Associations, Martin Mr Dorsman, and the acting Secretary-General of the European Transport Workers' Federation, Livia Spera - triggered a crisis unprecedented in the change of crews, which had an impact on hundreds of thousands of seafarers, some of whom are close to being stranded at sea for two years. There is the real concern that, with the new restrictions, the situation may get worse rather than better. The seafarers - they have pointed out Dorsman and Spera -- are frontline workers in a maritime industry that carries 90% of world trade. They are therefore essential to ensure that nations are supplied vital assets. Increasingly, during 2021, this will include doses of vaccine, protective devices individual and syringes to vaccinate populations and to defeat the virus.'

Thanking the European Commission and the Member States for their efforts to date to facilitate the change of crews of the representatives of the ECSA and the ETF requested that, "however, at this important moment in the fight against viruses, seafarers are designated as key workers in all eu Member States and have priority access to vaccines for Covid-19. In addition - dorsman and Spera specified - we call on EU leaders to continue to recognise the needs of seafarers by ensuring that any strengthening of maritime national restrictive practices provides for exemptions for seafarers and for maritime personnel.'

Noting that 'even with priority access to vaccinations it will take some time before all seafarers vaccinated, Dorsman and Spera stressed that "during the maritime and maritime personnel should not be be subject to the vaccination obligation for the purpose of entry and travel within the EU.'

Finally, by calling on the EU States and institutions to exercise diplomatic influence vis-à-vis third countries at the the end of an international recognition of seafarers as workers and for all seafarers to have access to priority to vaccination, representatives of the ECSA and the ETF also called on EU transport ministers to ask their colleagues responsible for health and business to guarantee the right to medical care for seafarers because, during the second wave of the pandemic, there has been the reinstatement of some restrictions and the lack of medical care for seafarers positive results at the Covid-19.

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