Vietnam proposes IMO prioritise sailors in COVID-19 vaccinations hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has proposed the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) consider the issuance of regulations on prioritising COVID-19 vaccinations for sailors regardless their nationalities, thus minimising the risk of pandemic spreading among the group.

The proposal was put forth in a letter from Nguyen Xuan Sang, Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration and Deputy Secretary-General of the IMO Vietnam, to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim regarding initiatives on creating favourable conditions and ensuring the utmost safety for sailors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, Sang expressed his support for the message of the IMO Secretary-General to sailors, which stated that sailors and maritime staff are key forces in providing necessary services.

Sang held that amid complicated developments of the pandemic, it is crucial for governments of IMO member countries to issue policies to include maritime workers to their prioritised lists for COVID-19 vaccinations, while administrating the vaccines on sailors and maritime workers of vessels docking at ports under their management.

Agreeing with Sang’s proposal, the IMO Secretary-General suggested that the official put the proposal into discussion during the 103th meeting of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee which is slated for May 5.

Lim said that the IMO is working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to call on governments to prioritise sailors in their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, thus creating optimal conditions for safe travelling cross borders.

A joint statement is being drafted by UN agencies, which will be issued soon, he added.

Lim said that the IMO will create best conditions for discussions with its member countries and representatives of the maritime sector’s representatives as well as the UN agencies and relevant parties to build a vaccination coordination strategy.

Meanwhile, sailors, maritime enterprises and maritime transport associations have submitted requests to authorised agencies, aking for prioritised COVID-19 vaccinations for sailors working onboard cargo vessels.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center, search and rescue activities have been maintained round-the-clock since the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, but with high risks, especially in the cases involving foreign sailors.

Leaders of the centre has proposed that the Government and authorised agencies put maritime rescuers into the prioritised list in the COVID-19 vaccination scheme, thus maintaining effective operations of the force./.