US FMC Commissioners Urge Vaccinations for Maritime Workers
This week, U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioners Daniel B. Maffei and Carl W. Bentzel sent letters to the Governors of major port states urging them to prioritize the vaccination of the maritime workforce to protect the nation’s supply chain.
Letters were sent to the Governors of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas and Washington following an earlier letter to the Biden administration encouraging the prioritization of maritime workers for access to vaccinations, personal protective equipment (PPE) and rapid testing.
"Because we continue to hear that access is insufficient, we write to you today to emphasize the importance of this issue," the FMC Commissioners wrote in the letter to Governors.
Several U.S. ports, including the nation's largest in Los Angeles and Long Beach, have been experiencing severe delays due in part to COVID-19 outbreak among port workers.
"A large-scale workforce disruption from COVID-19 would be disastrous for the immediate and long-term fluidity of the supply chain and delivery of goods to Americans. We must address the immediate health challenges facing maritime workers with continued COVID-19 outbreaks and their impact on the increasing maritime workload and unprecedented volume surges," the letter said.
"The sacrifices, resilience and selflessness of those who work in the maritime industry have kept our supply chain functioning and our economy connected and will serve as a foundation as we look to recover as a country in 2021. For this to happen, we must provide immediate vaccination to the maritime workforce."
Several industry groups, including the American Association of Port Authorities, American Waterway Operators, Inland Rivers, Ports & Terminals, National Association of Waterfront Employers and National Maritime Safety Association, have also urged vaccine prioritization for the U.S. maritime workforce.