Indonesia Seafarers’ Union KPI urges the government to prioritize seafarers and vessel crews to get Covid-19 vaccine as they are included as frontline workers with high risk from the virus spread.
By prioritizing them to get vaccine, according to KPI President Mathias Tambing, the seafarers are protected from virus. In addition, this is in line with the principles of shipping safety.
“We hope that seafarers are also prioritized to get this vaccine as the medical workers and public services workers have been on the prioritized program,” Mathias said in a press statement today (March 8).
Mathias explained that the world has acknowledged that the seafarers play key role in the human life.
Mathis quoted that in the event of ‘Day of The Seafarers 2020’, International Maritime Organization (IMO) acknowledged and appreciated the role and contribution of seafarers to the global economy amid the pandemic Covid-19 outbreak. IMO said ‘Seafarers are Key Worker’.
“As a country having high numbers of seafarers, the government of Indonesia should prioritize programs to protect seafarers, including from this pandemic. Hence, we (KPI) ask the government to give vaccine to seafarers,” said Mathias.
He said, the seafarers play important and strategic role in supporting the smooth people movement and cargo delivery.
Though facing many difficulties due to the pandemic, according to Mathias, but they (seafarers) still go to work. “Seafarers face difficulties to get access to the port. They also faced some difficulties during the shifting process or repatriate process. Many also can’t go home for months due to the social distancing policies,” Mathias explained.
International Maritime Organization (IMO), according to Mathias, has actually asked all countries in the world to give more attention to seafarers, both their welfare and safety.
According to United Nation data, there are more than 400,000 seafarers worldwide who have been working for over 12 months during the pandemic. They are now still on board with uncertainty to back home.
“Until this pandemic comes to the second year, we don’t see the government’ special program to protect the seafarers as the government does not prioritize seafarers to get vaccine,” Mathias noted, stressing again the IMO’s words of ‘Seafarers are Key Worker’.