Medical treatment on board of vessels

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Over the course of the next few months, the content of this site will expand rapidly.

Among the topics we aim to cover, are the governance structures of EU maritime law, inland waterway transport, rules applying to seafarers, trade regulations, security issues, port regulations and competion law.

Medical standards to be kept on board are subject for guidelines of the three international organisations IM, ILO and the WHO. Ships’ medicine chest and medical aid at sea is subject to occupational health and safety regulations (OHS-laws) that emerged in EU law since 1988.

International law

IMO: STCW medical fitness standards. For details, refer to our section on training of seafarers.

ILO: Guidelines for the medical examination of seafarers. Available in full text (PDF format) here.

WHO: International Medical Guide for Ships (3rd ed.). This guide is available for purchase on the IMO web site.

European law

Directive 92/29/EC on the minimum safety and health requirements for improved medical treatment on bard vessels, as amended. Available in full text (PDF format) here. A summary of EU legislation is available online aswell. Also, the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work operates its own topic page online about this directive.

Case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ)

Case C-410/97, Commission v. Luxemburg. ECR [1998] I-6813

Statements of EU institutions

Commission 29.10.2009: Report on the practical implementation of Health and Safety at Work Directives 93/103/EC (fishing vessels) and 92/29/EEC (medical treatment on board vessels). COM(2009) 599 final

Commission 21.2.2007: “Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work”. COM(2007) 62 final.

Commission 1988: Communication on its programme concerning safety, hygiene and health at work. OJ C, 3.2.1988, p. 3

Council 21.12.1987: Resolution on safety, hygiene and health at work. OJ C 28, 3.2.1988, p. 1

Written Questions by Members of the European Parliament (rule 117)

Written Question E-2841/07 by Ioannis Varvitsiotis: “Enlistment of doctors on passenger ships” with answer by Commission Barrot of 26.9.2007. Question and answer available here.


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