Singapore’s large maritime workforce will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
By Vikram Malik, Maritime Direct India Correspondent
Singapore is expected to be among the first countries in the world to launch a major drive towards inoculating its maritime personnel against COVID-19. Other countries are likely to take cues from the island nation, based on how its vaccination endeavour pans out.
This prioritisation comes against the backdrop of maritime workers’ increased vulnerability – given their constant contact with outsiders. For this reason, Singapore has setup its Sea – Air Vaccination Exercise or SAVE which is likely to see more than 10,000 maritime workers in the country being vaccinated by the end of this month. Combined with the aviation industry, SAVE should see over 37,000 frontline workers being vaccinated in the next two months.
Select categories of maritime personnel chosen for this drive include cargo officers, port workers, marine superintendents, harbour pilots, and marine surveyors. In terms of job responsibilities, those involved in maintenance work, refuelling, ship repair, and navigation will be prioritised.
The current week alone should see 13,000 workers from both marine and aviation sectors being vaccinated in the country.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines is set to emerge as the world’s first airline that will vaccinate all its staff. Already, more than 5,000 of its personnel have signed up to be inoculated. On his part, Transport Minister of Singapore Ong Ye Kung told aviation workers “SIA (Singapore Airlines) can be the first vaccinated international airline of the world. Try to get that done.”