facebook linkedin twitter

America’s Mariners Are Essential Workers. It’s Time to Get Them Vaccinated
COMMENTARY

March 31, 2021by Matt Godden, CEO of Centerline Logistics
Matt Godden, President and CEO of Centerline Logistics

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed appreciation for a strong, stable and resilient national logistics system. America’s mariners, who have safely ensured essential cargo continue to reach American’s doorsteps amid the current crisis, are the cornerstone of that system. 

Though the vaccine distribution is ongoing, and Biden’s recent announcement to begin vaccinating most adult Americans beginning May 1 is a positive step forward, there’s still much progress to be made in order to return to a safer, normal America. For our country to remain on our projected timeline, we must prioritize vaccinating our most essential workers first — mariners. 

Currently, America’s mariners are categorized under phase “1C” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  recommendations for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine — lumped into the same category with software publishers, lawyers and architects. The maritime industry is an often-overlooked industry, yet it is an industry made up of a fundamental group of Americans who, over the last year, have continuously put their own lives and the lives of their families at risk in order to keep America’s economy running. 

For the last year, marine transportation professionals have worked at all hours of the day, transporting critical items to homes across the country and into the U.S. market. Such essential items include toilet paper, fresh produce, petroleum, medicine, medical equipment, and so much more. If the maritime industry were to suddenly see a lapse in shipments due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Americans would likely be without access to daily essential items.

To complicate matters, the majority of our nation’s mariners reside in inland states, regularly traveling via airplane to their workplace destination, including states like California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Once they do arrive onsite, mariners work in close proximity together on vessels for extended periods of time, often up to six weeks at once. This simple fact of life for mariners has only increased their chances of catching and spreading COVID-19. As we’ve seen with commercial cruises last year, breakouts on cruise ships are common and dangerous, and preventing more breakouts for mariners could save countless lives.  

Demonstrating our strong commitment as an American company to keeping the nation moving even in the midst of a pandemic, Centerline chartered air service to ensure our mariners could continue to report for duty even after commercial air service ceased in this remote part of the nation. Because our crew members come from as far away as Alabama, Idaho, and Las Vegas, we take seriously our role to ensure our essential workers can continue to work each day in service to their fellow citizens.

With so much of global commerce and travel disrupted by the pandemic, the need for a thriving and fully functioning domestic maritime industry has perhaps never been more important. That’s why I am calling on state and local governments to prioritize America’s mariners first. Our government leaders can do so by expediting eligibility for mariners to receive the vaccine in their home states. This small step will help to significantly reduce spread of the virus and allow our essential workers to continue providing for our country.

Each day, mariners fulfill their strong commitment in ensuring that our nation’s logistics system functions smoothly. They act as the bridge in allowing people to continue accessing the products they need for survival. As the vaccine spreads with new strains and variants, keeping transportation vehicles moving with healthy crews and workers is of utmost priority. Now is the time for our government leaders to show their support by putting our mariners’ health first.


Matt Godden is the President and CEO of Centerline Logistics, a leading provider of marine transportation services in the United States, with operations along the West Coast (including Alaska), New York Harbor and the Gulf Coast.

Opinions

Medicare Open Enrollment Is Here: What Beneficiaries Need to Know

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period is here. From now until December 7, 63 million seniors and those with certain disabilities... Read More

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period is here. From now until December 7, 63 million seniors and those with certain disabilities can shop for and enroll in Medicare coverage that suits their needs. There’s a lot for seniors to consider at Open Enrollment, and the choices can... Read More

Loud Climate Policy

Let me set the stage: There’s a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White... Read More

Let me set the stage: There’s a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White House. Climate advocates have spent the last few years in the exile of a Republican Administration, one quarter drawing more and more attention to hurricanes and... Read More

My Mom is Living with Alzheimer’s, But We’re Some of the Lucky Ones.

Six years ago, my mother started to show signs of dementia. She would constantly lose personal items around the house... Read More

Six years ago, my mother started to show signs of dementia. She would constantly lose personal items around the house and often became confused in casual conversations. I wish that was the worst of it.  Months later, she began to hallucinate that there was a boy... Read More

The US Needs an Updated Approach to Post-Disaster Housing

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” As we process the reach and devastation of Hurricane Ida, leaving dozens... Read More

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” As we process the reach and devastation of Hurricane Ida, leaving dozens dead and hundreds of thousands without power, Benjamin Franklin’s admonition about preparedness reads as if it could’ve been spoken yesterday.  We know we live in a... Read More

October 5, 2021
by Rachel Marsden
If You Cared About This Week’s Facebook Outage, You’re a Target for Manipulation and Control

On Monday, Oct. 4, major social media applications run by Facebook, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and the social media giant itself,... Read More

On Monday, Oct. 4, major social media applications run by Facebook, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and the social media giant itself, all went dark worldwide for several hours. Not only did the outage prevent billions of users from accessing these services, but even those who only signed... Read More

October 1, 2021
by Mary Sanchez
The Hypocrisy of the Abortion Access Debate

Through more than five hours of testimony, the Congressional hearing on the nation’s ever-decreasing access to abortion showcased a lot... Read More

Through more than five hours of testimony, the Congressional hearing on the nation’s ever-decreasing access to abortion showcased a lot of erroneous thinking. There were twisted interpretations of eugenic's history, a flimsy albeit adamant concern specific to abortions in the Black community, a Pollyanna belief that... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top