IMO seeks onshore medical care for seafarers 

IMO endorses new protocols for crew change 
Kitack Lim


Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim has endorsed a series of recommendations designed to ensure seafarers can quickly and safely access medical care ashore.

The ‘recommendations for port and coastal states on the prompt disembarkation of seafarers for medical care ashore during the Covid-19 pandemic’ have been developed by a broad cross section of global industry associations together with the IMO. They are designed to provide guidance on how the relevant authorities in port and coastal States can ensure access for seafarers to urgently needed medical care.

The guidance covers any medical situation but also when a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 is involved. It includes advice on monitoring for signs or symptoms of Covid-19 prior to disembarkation, isolation of suspected or confirmed cases; the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); and minimizing risks of infection during disembarkation and transfer to a medical facility.

Seafarers’ health and wellbeing “are as important as that of anyone else,” Lim said. “Now is time for governments around the world to deliver for seafarers, by ensuring they can access medical care without delay, whenever they need it.”

The IMO chief has urged all Member States to implement the recommendations and share them with the relevant authorities.