Every seafarer has to go through a pre-joining medical examination where a doctor verifies their fitness for the upcoming contractual period. Some seafarers may be declared fit for the tour of duty under conditions that may require regular medication. In Gard, we see a significant number of cases where the seafarer who was declared fit for the contractual duration under medication, reports sick because of either a lack of medication or simply not being able to manage his or her medication routine.
Post medical examinations has also revealed several cases of misdeclared or concealed medical conditions at the time of the pre-joining medical examination. These can lead to severe complications that the vessel is not equipped to deal with and can potentially jeopardize the life of the seafarers in question.
For all seafarers it is important to:
• Declare, truthfully and honestly, any medication or medical condition to the doctor at the time of pre-joining medicals.
• As a minimum, carry sufficient stock of the prescribed medication for the entire tour of duty. Do not rely on the possibility of procuring additional medication during the contractual period.
• Carry the doctor’s prescription of any medication.
• Declare these medications and the prescription to the Master when joining the vessel.
• If required by the doctor’s prescription, record your vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse etc. regularly whilst onboard under the supervision of the Master or a qualified officer.
For masters on board vessels we recommend:
• Verify with the seafarer at the time they sign on if they have been prescribed any medication.
• If there is any doubt about the medication, such as quantity and frequency of the dosage, please get in touch with a doctor ashore.
• Make an accurate declaration of the medication when calling ports to avoid breaches of local laws.
For a significant number of illness cases where a post medical was performed it was noted that the seafarer signed on with a medical condition which was not declared at the time of PEME. The most common reason for misdeclaration is the fear of losing employment, but the seafarers need not risk their lives or livelihood for conditions that can be managed during the period of their contract.
Source: Gard (http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/29836341/signing-on-with-a-pre-joining-medical-condition-carry-and-take-prescribed-medication-on-time)