Panama Maritime Authority has issued a merchant marine notice recommending the new International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers for carriage on board.
The move places Panama as the first country to officially recommend the guide, which was published in March and provides the latest medical knowledge on all injuries, illnesses, and health issues experienced on ships and fishing vessels. This development means that up-to-date and practical medical guidance written specifically for seafarers and fishers will now be available to the over 8000 Panamanian-flagged vessels.
ICS enlisted a team of maritime medical experts from the International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to contribute to the 600-page guide which provides guidance in a practical format aiming to ensure that crew receive the right advice and medical care on the vessel, so that there is a much better chance of a positive end result and contribute to the global effort to improve seafarer welfare on board.
“Situations arise on ships which require immediate medical attention such as dehydration from working in a hot engine room or trips and falls from navigating passageways during seagoing conditions” says Guy Platten, Secretary General of International Chamber of Shipping. “By recommending the ICS medical guide to their registered vessels, Panama Maritime Authority has made it clear they share our dedication to ensuring seafarers have the best medical advice possible while at sea. We are thrilled to be working with them to make a difference in seafarers’ and fishers’ lives.”
The International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers comprises three sections:
- The latest medical knowledge by way of clear and practical explanations of assessments, treatments, and procedures, with chapters devoted to mental health, choking, bleeding, chest pain, seizures, strokes, back injuries, wounds, burns, and more.
- The Ship’s Medicine Chest, a detailed annex listing all the different medications and equipment that should be carried on board with international comparisons of medications and the amounts. Research at the start of the project showed that many ships’ medicine chests were out of date or that medicines were not available in certain regions, so great care was taken to create a Ship’s Medicine Chest that is as up to date and widely understood as possible.
- Ten removable action cards that can be carried anywhere on the ship to immediately assess an emergency medical situation.
In developing this medical guide, ICS has placed emphasis on the importance of using terminology that can be understood internationally due to the many nationalities involved in modern seafaring, and including the latest medicines that can be sourced in all regions of the world. It has been created in an easy-to-use format that is suitable for a non-medical professional to navigate and apply in a medical situation and includes 3D visual aids, tables, charts, and assessments to help crew follow procedures correctly.
The International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers is available in print and digital ebook from the ICS Publications website: https://publications.ics-shipping.org.