by Jason Zuidema, NAMMA
The effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact on seafarers directly. 2021 saw delayed crew changes, denied shore leave, and the difficulty that foreign seafarers had in accessing vaccines. Seafarers’ welfare groups continued their efforts to visit ships and provide personal shopping services, but focused on a campaign for crew vaccinations. Partnerships of health care providers, government agencies, industry groups, labor associations and charities have been involved in seafarers vaccination programs in 88 locations in the United States and 16 locations in Canada.
Often, seafarers’ welfare is done ‘under the radar’. It is often said that the general public does not pay all that much attention to shipping, a proverbial “sea blindness”. In previous years, this has meant that seafarers’ welfare providers needed to spend that much more time justifying their work and educating the public about why seafarers and shipping were so important.
In 2021, shipping and the work of seafarers’ welfare hit the news. The following is a list of all the news stories in NAMMA’s region that talk about the work of our members and partners: