Seafaring is generally recognised as a hazardous occupation. The number of crew who fall ill on board vessels, sometimes fatally, because they are unable to receive prompt treatment due to undiagnosed illnesses is alarming.
In addition to the personal distress and worry caused to crew members, one single serious crew illness claim can force a vessel to deviate from its planned route and lose time, with all the attendant commercial consequences and expenses. The resultant hospitalisation, medical treatment and related expenses could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. For shipowners and ship managers around the world, dealing with and resolving crew illness claims continues to be a substantial on-going cost.
Many of these types of claims could be avoided if seafarers had a comprehensive pre-employment medical examination (PEME) by a reliable medical facility or clinic. This is a requirement under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.
North has been running an enhanced pre-employment medical programme since 2002, initially starting in the Philippines and extending to Odessa in 2007. PEMEs were introduced in both areas following evidence of a high number of Filipino and Ukrainian seafarers falling ill on board our Member’s vessels, with illnesses which could have easily been detected and treated prior to them boarding the vessel. Detection and treatment avoids seafarers endangering their health and those around them and is an effective tool in preventing high value claims for our Members.
Our PEME programmes have continued to grow year on year, with both existing Members and new Members joining, realising the importance of having a healthy crew on board their vessels.
In addition to the two specific crew supply areas where we have an established programme, we can also provide advice and assistance in other areas of the world to our members wishing to ensure that their crew are adequately screened.
With the assistance of the UK based Your Excellent Health Service (www.yourexcellenthealth.co.uk) and Dr Charlie Easmon; we will ensure that clinics are suitably qualified and equipped for carrying out the examinations required for a career at sea and ensure that the Doctors are willing to follow strict guidelines to secure the best quality crew. The Club and our consultant Doctor visit our recommended clinics in these areas on an annual basis to ensure that the medical equipment is of a high standard and that they continue to follow our programme rigorously.
In the Philippines, we continue to recommend four clinics in Manila and two in Cebu. We recently introduced a new clinic in Iloilo, (a large crew supply area in the Philippines) to our list of recommended clinics. We believe that this additional facility will benefit Members who employ crew from Iloilo as it will save time and costs of the crew travelling to either Manila or Cebu to carry out their medicals prior to employment. In Ukraine, we recommend three clinics in Odessa with whom we have been working since the inception of the programme there in 2007. Details of all our recommended clinics can be found in our PEME Briefings.
North’s statistics, compiled since 2002, confirm that participating Members in the PEME programme benefit from significantly fewer illness claims and overall a healthier workforce on board. In addition, individual seafarers have seen an improvement in their own personal health thanks to a thorough examination prior to their employment at sea.
Further information regarding our PEME programme can be obtained by contacting Lucy Dreyer or Abbie Rudd through our PEME email address email@example.com.