ETF and ECSA welcome WHO decision to prioritise seafarers’ vaccination 

28 Jul 2021

The World Health Organisation has included seafarers that should be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination in the context of limited supplies.  

On July 16, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released its updated guidance for the organisation’s vaccine roadmap in order to provide a framework for overall programme priorities, listing seafarers on cargo ships as a key group that should be prioritised in the case of limited supplies. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – which had repeatedly advocated for a fair global distribution of vaccines as to include seafarers – praised the WHO recommendations.  

ECSA and ETF welcome the WHO updated guidance, in line with their previous calls for seafarers’ priority access to vaccination and praise the initiatives already in place in a number of European countries.  However, more needs to be done and ECSA and ETF are urging the remaining EU Member States to follow suit.  

Seafarers all over the world are still facing severe restrictions which are forcing many of them to be stuck at sea, risking serious issues to their physical and mental well-being that might impede ships’ operations. Yet, global seaborne supply chains supply the world with 90% of everything we consume as well as so much needed medical equipment, personal protective equipment, medicines and vaccinations to combat Covid19.  


Media Contact: 


Francesco Tanzi, ECSA Senior Advisor Communications/PR 

Nikolaos Koletsis, ETF Policy Officer for Maritime Transport 


About ECSA
ECSA represents 19 national shipowners’ associations based in the EU and Norway. European shipowners control 39.5% of the global commercial fleet, contribute 149 billion euros per year to the EU GDP and provide 2 million Europeans with careers both on board and ashore. ECSA strives for a regulatory environment that fosters the international competitiveness of European shipping, to the benefit of the EU. 

About ETF 

The ETF Maritime Transport Section brings together 70 union organisations for seafarers in 33 countries, and provides a European voice for the more than 272 000 seafarers we organise.