International ship crews arriving at the Port of Long Beach and neighboring Port of Los Angeles have received COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce the spread of the infection among seafarer communities.
More than 450 crewmembers from 27 ships have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Port of Long Beach said in a statement.
Nearly 480 more sailors on 29 ships are booked for vaccinations. The vaccinations are administered without charge to international crews aboard ships visiting San Pedro Bay.
The mobile program is a part of a joint effort between the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Department of Health, Human Services and the National Guard.
“It’s great to see our city helping these sailors who serve on the ships that carry the world’s cargo across the oceans and keep this industry moving,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.
“These men and women are an important part of the supply chain, and they travel all over the world.”
“Supply chain workers have been on the frontline of this pandemic since the beginning… We need to vaccinate as many people as possible, and we’re pleased to see that vital work happening in our harbor,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna also commented.
Last week, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), section Seafarers, urged for a global vaccination rollout to prevent the crew change crisis from spiraling out of control for the third time.
ITF inspectors and coordinators have been working with local unions and seafarer welfare charities to help roll out vaccine doses in the U.S., while ITF-affiliated maritime unions are pushing for their port State governments to extend vaccines to visiting crew.
The ITF welcomed the news that the Dutch government has partnered with shipowners and local unions to vaccinate 49,000 seafarers from mid-June at a number of ports in the Netherlands and at Schiphol International Airport.
In January, over 300 maritime industry and human rights leaders signed a new global pledge urging industry accountability and finally ending the deepening crew change crisis.
Signatories include major multinationals BP, Cargill, Rio Tinto and Shell, industry majors Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping, Frontline, Euronav, Hapag-Lloyd, MOL, NYK Line, Trafigura and many more.