Seaspan is celebrating the completion of our first on-board COVID-19 vaccination clinics, with many more to come.
The impact of the pandemic has been felt all over the world, and seafarers are no exception. In addition to working far from home and worries for their loved ones, the seafaring community has had to cope with restrictions from disembarking at port, and travel regulations delaying their returns home. Similarly, their friends and family worry for their loved ones onboard, knowing that they traverse the world ensuring essential goods can be delivered.
Vaccine distribution is a global concern, with uneven accessibility between countries and local areas. Seaspan has been working to provide our seafarers with access to vaccines, always keeping in mind that our seafarers’ safety and comfort are top priority. As such, Seaspan is being extremely selective in the organizations it partners with on this initiative, to ensure the highest of practice standards being adhered to. This first push is being conducted through a partnership with the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA), enabling on-board vaccination clinics when calling at US ports.
The vaccine program is entirely voluntary; this initiative makes vaccines available to crew members on board the vessels, but the personal medical decision is made by each crew member individually. All crew members are encouraged to speak with their family physicians to ensure they can make a well-informed decision, and Seaspan’s 24/7 remote medical service providers are available to them all at any time, before or after the clinics.
To minimize risk to seafarers, all Seaspan vaccine clinics are being held exclusively on board; in collaboration with the relevant Port Authorities and Public Health organizations, the vaccination team boards the vessel to set up their clinic and administers the doses while implementing Seaspan’s COVID management plan with respect to COVID social distancing and hygiene practices, ensuring the safety of all personnel. Each clinic is able to conclude within approximately two hours.
Of course, Seaspan has vessels all over the world – this is the first vaccination initiative which aligns with Seaspan’s ISO 45001 policy, it is actively pursuing other options for those vessels not calling at US ports, and for seafarers on leave. This includes a program to support seafarers who receive vaccines in their home countries, and Seaspan has worked with the National Union of Seafarers in India to sponsor a COVISHIELD vaccine drive in India.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact daily life all over the world; seafarers have been faced with many challenges in fast-changing seas, and without question have risen to meet each challenge. Seaspan is very happy to be able to provide access to vaccines to these first vessels, and looks forward to doing the same for many more to come.