End of July, the crews of the “Budapest Express” and the “Cartagena Express” were vaccinated during their stay in the Port of Hamburg. Seafarers have also been receiving vaccinations in US ports since mid-May. All crews of Hapag-Lloyd ships calling at the Port of Hamburg or US ports are to be successively vaccinated.
Seafarers ship important goods around the globe, thereby ensuring that the shelves in our supermarkets and elsewhere are well filled. Nevertheless, they have not been classified as “key workers”. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hapag-Lloyd’s Fleet Management has been working closely together with the relevant authorities in addition to trying to get the issue higher on the political agenda. Unfortunately, even almost 18 months after the start of the pandemic, little has changed regarding the status of seafarers – including when it comes to the priority given to vaccinating them.
What has changed, however, is that we can now finally start vaccinating colleagues on board our ships on our own initiative. For example, plans now call for all crew members of the 14 vessels that call at the Port of Hamburg to be successively vaccinated. They will receive a vaccination that needs just one shot to be fully protected.
The situation is even better in the United States, where seafarers calling at all ports have been vaccinated since mid-May. Starting with the “Dallas Express” when it called at Long Beach, a total of 15 ships sailing under German flag that call at US ports will have their crews successively vaccinated.
Christoph Ortmann, captain of the “Budapest Express”, tells us in the video what the past year was like for his crew and what relief the vaccination has now brought: