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Will CanSino Biologics resurrect employment for China seafarers?


Labour shortage might just be alleviated by China-made CanSino single-dose vaccine

India came in top 2 for the world rank for COVID-19 infections, followed by Indonesia, after a new cluster was detected onboard the Panamanian-flagged vessel Hilma Bulker, which carried 13 infected Filipino crew. Unfortunately, the Indonesian medical professionals who attended to Hilma Bulker’s crew were tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant. Hilma Bulker reportedly docked at Central Java on 25 April 2021 after passing India.

China may be the first to resolve crew change crisis
Bangladeshis and Indonesians currently dominate the crew force. While Indian seafarers are deprived of vaccination, the Bangladeshis and Indonesians were given priority by their governments. Indian seafarers’ employment is worsened by the vaccine crisis, aggravated by fears of a deadlier variant B.1.617 – believed to cause the wild fire-like outbreak.

The added pressure for ship managers to deploy only vaccinated crew resulted in more caution against Indonesia. Left with Bangladesh, it is a matter of time when the crew supply is depleted. It is an enormous opportunity for China since it launched the single-dose vaccine called Convidecia and administered it across 11 districts.

A glimmer of hope from China
Now that a new cluster has been detected involving Indonesians who came in close contact with the crew onboard Hilma Bulker, Indonesia is effectively at risk as another super spreader. The Muslim nation will expectedly be having several Eid al-Fitr celebrations where devotees will gather – forming a hotbed for the highly infectious virus. India’s cases have passed the 26 million mark and Indonesia is the second Asian nation to be hit – currently grappling with 1.7 million cases.

Various media reported the Convidecia has an efficacy of 65.7 per cent at preventing moderate cases of COVID-19 and 90.98 per cent efficacy at preventing severe cases. It is currently authorised for use in China, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary, and Chile. Observing China as the only Asian country to administer Convidecia, it might just be the first to resolve its crew change crisis and be the next supplier for vaccinated seafarers.