Crew unable to get off for vaccines would have it brought to them (onboard) instead
Those unable to disembark for vaccinations can look forward to getting vaccinated onboard through an initiative lobbied by a ship inspector. That would hopefully make shore leave possible even if it is just for a few hours.
Took one to know many
The ship inspector with the Seafarers International Union campaigned successfully for vaccines to be brought onboard to crew. Stefan Mueller conceived the idea and pitched it to the Long Beach Health Department. He was one of those few individuals allowed onboard ships to see for himself the crew’s working conditions. Another minister reportedly went onboard a Japanese vessel and verified similar woes of the Filipino crew onboard.
Mueller shared, “They signed on in June 2020. They have gone through a whole Christmas, New Year’s cycle, and are now talking to me because they are concerned. They were stressed and depressed, wondering how they are going to get home. They may get blacklisted for too many complaints.” He hopes that crew who have been vaccinated will at least be able to disembark for a few hours upon their return to Los Angeles. Though details of the initiative remains unconfirmed, crew can certain heave a sigh of relief.
He added, “Customs and Border Protection is allowing some crew with visas and their COVID-19 vaccines to go ashore. However, some management companies are not permitting it due to the risks involved despite the move is legally allowed. Employers are more worried of a member contracting the COVID-19.”
Fear of crew contracting the virus outweighed the importance of having them inoculated. It is also fair to conclude the risk carries a big load of implications which mostly translates to another huge expenditure for companies. Disallowing the crew to get off is the easiest and most popular measure to minimise risks of crew getting infected. Nonetheless, the undertone to date has not changed – fear of more costs. Yet, UK shipowner V Group launched its own vaccination programme last May. They successfully inoculated 13 Indian seafarers onboard a Falcon Maritime vessel, CABRERA, in Port Everglades, United States.