ship at anchor

Photo: benjapol congliang

Cyprus Sets Out to Vaccinate Some 40,000 Seafarers

Mike Schuler
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June 28, 2021

Cyprus has announced plans to vaccinate all seafarers, some 40,000 of them, on Cyprus-flagged and managed vessels.

The plans were announced Friday in a circular by the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) to coincide with the International Day of the Seafarer. The island nation is also exploring the potential to become a vaccination hub for all visiting seafarers.

The vaccines will be administered by qualified medical staff to all seafarers working on board Cyprus-flagged ships, irrespective of the location of the vessel, and certificates provided.

Vaccines will also be available to all seafarers serving on board vessels calling at Cypriot ports, regardless of flag, with close ties to Cyprus, such as ships managed by companies based in the country.

Cyprus was one of the first countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and implement a formal crew change process, resulting in over 20,000 seafarers being repatriated or able to return to work since May 2020, according to the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry.

“We remain committed to finding a realistic approach to a global seafarer vaccination program,” said Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, Vassilios Demetriades. “This responsibility starts at a national level, which is why we are providing vaccines to all seafarers on Cyprus-flagged and Cyprus-managed vessels.”

“We continue to prioritize seafarer welfare and support a practical and coordinated solution to the ongoing crew change challenge. We would also like to further explore, in cooperation with the global shipping community, the possibility of becoming a vaccination hub for seafarers. This will require collaboration with other nations and organizations to pool spare vaccines, and we are in active conversations to progress the potential of this idea,” Demetriades added.

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