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Ship Medicals and Health Protocols: Things to put in place before sailing

As a ship owner one very important thing you have to pay attention to before sailing is the medical preparations for the crew, the ship must be prepared for all kind of medical, traumatic or allergic emergencies and there should be no short comings as you could be worsening the medical condition of the crew or even cause death.

Staffs should be well qualified and knowledgeable to ensure they can handle emergencies when it arises. If there is an Onboard medical emergency team, they must ensure the medical are refilled and are up-to-date so as not to administer an expired drug thereby endangering the patient’s life.


CT Scanner: The Computerized Tomography (CT) scanner is used to scan the body of a human, though it is more detailed than the regular X-ray scanner because an X-ray shows basically the bones but this CT scanner show more than the bone because it also shows the soft tissues, blood vessels. With the CT scanner, the doctor can see both inside and outside of your body without cutting.

MRI Machine: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Machine: This is an imaging technique used in the medical field to generate the image of the organs of a man

Diagnostic Equipment: Such as Digital blood pressure monitor, Pulse Oximeter, Stethoscope, Sphygmomanometer, Thermometer, Timer, Tongue depressor, CTG monitor, EGG Series, Otoscope, Fetal Dopper.

Surgical Equipment: Anesthesia Machine, Monitor, Surgical Microscope, Tables (Surgical, Procedure, Fluoroscopy), Chairs, Auto Clave, Patient Warmer, Tourniquets, Cast Saw etc.

Hospital Furniture: Such as Stretchers, Cot, Bed Screen, Operating Table, Baby Dress Table, Stand, Cabinets, Buckets etc.

Lab Equipment

X-Ray Devices


Guidelines by World Health Organization (WHO)

According to the current edition of World Health Organization (WHO) ‘International Medical Guide for Ships’,

All vessels should carry medicine test and medical equipment.

There should always be medical equipment and treatment facilities which would contain all necessary

Medicines and medication of the crew members. The Crew members should also have access to these

medical equipment and facilities as stated by WHO.

Every vessel should keep an updated record of the treatments given to any patient on-board, stating the type and quantity of every of any medicine.

Any vessel carrying more than 100 crew members MUST with qualified and well-trained medical doctor and medical personnel.

Medicine and medical equipment shall be inspected in a period not more than 12 months, the medical personnel on-board shall see to the proper labelling, expiry date and storage conditions and direction for use and check that all the equipment function as expected.



The cabins must be cleaned at least once a day.

Restaurants, food areas must be cleaned regularly and utensils properly kept.

Areas with a constant high number of people such as pools, elevators and others should be cleaned throughout the day.


Before crew members and passengers are allowed to board the ship, it is advisable to do a pre-boarding screening for everyone, to know which is ill and the type of illness they might be having, this will help reduce the case of lack of idea of what is happening and eradicates ignorance. Once the test is done, it helps the on-board medical staff know what to prepare for and get extra help if needed.

In some cases, it is best to have every crew member come with a medical report from their reputable hospitals and doctors.

Crew Members Training

Every crewmember must be trained on how to respond to first aid and other emergencies regardless of their positions or duties on the ship. This goes a long way to ensure no life is lost because a crew member there at the time had no idea of what to do.

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