Only a quarter of seafarers are vaccinated, which is constraining the movement of crews on and off ships as countries erect new barriers to travel

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Low vaccination rates among cargo-ship crews, along with changing vaccination rules from country to country, make it difficult for ship operators to rotate crews.

Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg News

Tens of thousands of seafarers are stuck at sea working beyond their maximum 11-month contracts, as the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant hinders cargo ship operators’ ability to change over crews.

With the world’s 1.5 million sailors spending long stretches far from land, only about a quarter of them are fully vaccinated, ship operators, crewing agencies and industry trade bodies estimate.

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