ICS reveals “alarming” reports of seafarers being denied medical evacuation

With the number of mariners needing crew changes reaching almost 200,000, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has warned of reports of seafarers being denied medical evacuation or access to ports despite serious medical conditions, describing the practice unacceptable.

ICS secretary general Guy Platten said that “we’re receiving alarming reports of seafarers who are suffering from serious medical injury such as a stroke, be denied medical evacuation for over four days. This is simply not acceptable”.

ICS has issued new guidance for shipowners and operators to deal with unwell seafarers. It said on Thursday May 28th that it was planning to remind governments of their obligations to provide medical care for seafarers during a virtual meeting of healthcare professionals, organized by the World Health Organization, International Maritime Organization and International Labour Organization, where the latest guidance for seafarers was set to be discussed.

The 48-page document builds on the previous guidance issued in March.

It provides comprehensive recommendations on:

  • Safe port entry
  • Shipboard measures to address risks associated with Covid-19
  • Managing an outbreak of Covid -19 on board ships
  • Managing other medical issues during Covid -19, including medical assistance to seafarers in ports.

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