In another thread I posted some partial C19 stats on the company where I work. I’m going to publish more data here, in the hope that other persons who have statistics on C19 infections on their vessel(s) will do the same. It is impossible to compare this data to anything else unless other people post their company’s data. A multi-company study could be interesting to captains and ship operators alike, in planning for future epidemics.

While I am happy to answer any serious questions about the data, or about the company’s C19 protocols, I AM GOING TO FLAG ANY POSTS THAT OFFER ONLY OPINION, in the hopes that the moderators will remove it.

Covid 19 Stats

Company description: Aleutian/Bering Sea cargo carrier. Number of boats: 5. Size of crew: about 8 to 9. Typical Length of voyage: 25 days. Apx. number of voyages in study period: 108. Company has both shoreside and mariner divisions.

Survey Period: April 1, 2020 to October 31, 2022

96: Number of employees, combined shoreside/mariner divisions.

3: Total number of mariners with symptoms/positive C19 test on a voyage in survey period.
0: Number of cases where C19 spread between crew members on a voyage.
Note : 2 additional crew contracted C19 48-hours before the end of a voyage, from longshoremen who boarded the boat on the next-to- last cargo stop. Infected crew members got off the vessel before showing symptoms.

31%: Percentage of all mariners who have had C19 whether on their time-off or on a voyage. (17 total).
44%: Percentage of shoreside personnel who have had C19. (24 total).

January 8, 2021: Date first employee reported a case of C19.
June 13-17, 2022: Week with record number of employees infected. 20% of all shoreside employees reported infections in this week.

96%: Number of mariners vaccinated at least once.
92%: Number of people vaccinated at least once, combined shoreside/mariner divisions.


A few things to amplify the numbers above:
The cases reported here are all self-reported, and tested positive for C19. There were likely more cases that were asymptomatic and therefore not reported.

The CDC reports a higher number of the general populace have had C19 than the numbers experienced at this company. But children have a higher incidence of C19 than adults, which drives up the general average. Also, CDC estimates include all Americans, and there is a wide latitude in behaviors as to avoiding or not avoiding C19, in vaccination rates, etc. The employees of this company made an excellent effort to avoid C19 infections during the pandemic, and had strict work protocols prior to 2022. Their vaccination rate is high. So it is not surprising that at this point their infection rate is lower than that of the general populace.

The rates of infection for the two parts of the company are percentages of employees, but those percentages can also serve as indicators of the rate of change of infection. The infection rate is lower for mariners at this company than it is for the general populace. As time goes on the percentage of infected mariners will increase, but likely at a slower rate than that of the general populace. Infection is a function of personal interactions over a period of time. A mariner spends a large fraction of their time at sea, severely reducing the number of people they interact with, over long periods of time.

These fellow mariners are proportionally more likely to be vaccinated and regularly tested for C19, compared to the general populace, so the chance of C19 exposure for a mariner is less than that of many people ashore. It is not surprising that the rate of infection for mariners in this company (or any vessel-operating company) is relatively low. It will increase over the years, but the rate has been slowed by the normal isolation of life at sea, vaccination rates, etc.

Note that only three mariners exhibited symptoms/tested positive while on a voyage. These were on separate voyages. The infections did not spread to the rest of the crew. The infected persons were isolated to their cabins and used designated heads for a few days. They were fed meals in their cabins. All tested negative five days after testing positive. Some returned to duties before testing negative.

More statistics from other companies would be useful.

An update since October 31:
We have had no shipboard cases of C19 since that last report.

We stopped asking crew members to report any infections on their time off.

Our C19 protocols are now pretty simple:

  1. Crew takes a OTC test on sailing day. If someone were to test positive, they would most likely still sail, with a few simple precautions to prevent shipboard spread. (We’ve had only three individual shipboard cases since the Pandemic began, with no spread aboard ship.)
  2. We require bivalent vaccination. It’s not an issue here, though I understand it may be at other places.

Last time I reported this, several posters here scoffed at our stats and accused me of lying (but they did not present any data on their own fleets, I might add).

A couple of week ago I had a conversation with an old friend, now the port captain of a well-thought of U.S. tanker company with about 300 mariners. I asked him for C19 infection stats at his company during the Pandemic. Their stats virtually mirrored our experience, when adjusted for size of workplace (they employ five times more people).

The takeaway: at the beginning of he Pandemic it was theorized that shipboard spread of C19 would be rampant. There would be no way of stopping it. The experience of at least two companies is that this is not the case.

It would be great to get more stats from other companies, to get a larger picture. You don’t need to name the company. You just have to have the stats.

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