When a seafarer or fisher becomes sick or is injured at sea, it is up to one of their fellow crew members to provide medical relief until professional medical services can be reached. This person will have had limited medical training on shore, as required under the STCW Convention, but is not a fully-trained doctor. When confronted with a medical emergency far from land, the person responsible for medical care relies on telemedical assistance services (TMAS), the medicines and equipment available in the on board medicine chest, and the on board medical guide for support.
This modern and practical medical guide from ICS has been written and reviewed by an international group of maritime medical practitioners and experts with many years' experience of working with and training seafarers and fishers. It can be used on board all ships and fishing vessels, anywhere in the world, and in onshore safety departments, medical assistance centres and training institutions who support seafarers and fishers.
The International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers is:
1. International and applicable globally
2. Comprehensive and up-to-date
3. Practical and user-friendly
Featuring a foreword from Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and written in collaboration with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and International Maritime Health Association (IMHA).
The £225 RRP includes:
Read the full Introduction, Foreword and Contents List below.
Carriage of a medical guide on board is mandatory under the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (ILO MLC) and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention. The fishing industry requires proper medical care to be provided on board under the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, and medical training for those providing first aid care under the IMO STW-F 1995 Convention.
|International Chamber of Shipping
|International Chamber of Shipping Publications
|2023 - March
Introduction: How to use this book
Section 1: Illnesses and medical problems
1 ABCDE: assess a sick patient
2 CPR and defibrillators
4 Breathing problems
5 Shock (circulatory collapse)
6 Major bleeding (haemorrhage)
7 Chest pain
8 Anaphylaxis and allergy
9 Seizures (fits) and convulsions
11 Loss of consciousness
12 Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)
14 Sepsis and infectious diseases
15 Acute abdominal pain
16 Heat-related illnesses
18 Hypothermia and cold injuries
20 Acute eye problems
21 Acute ear, nose and throat (ENT) problems
22 Acute dental problems
23 Back pain
24 Joint pain
25 Urinary tract and male genital problems
26 Sexually transmitted infections
27 Gynaecological problems
28 Menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage and childbirth
29 Common skin problems
31 Mental health issues
32 Alcohol, tobacco and drug misuse
Section 2: Injuries and trauma
33 ABCDE: assess an injured patient
34 Head, face and eye injuries
35 Neck and spinal injuries
36 Chest injuries
37 Abdominal injuries
38 Pelvic and hip injuries
39 Injuries to bones, joints, muscles and other soft tissues
40 Wounds and bleeding
42 Bites and stings
Section 3: Additional information
43 Assessing and managing pain
44 Practical procedures
45 Communicating with TMAS, and documentation
46 Moving a sick or injured patient
47 Medical assessment ashore
48 Medical evacuation
49 Continuing care
50 Care of others on board
51 Death on board
52 Officer responsible for medical care
53 Health risks on board
54 Anatomy and physiology
55 The International Health Regulations
Section 4: Assessment forms and charts
Fluid balance chart
Medical assessment form
The International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers is a guide designed for non-medical professionals to help prepare them to handle medical emergencies when working at sea. This practical guide provides a useful complement to the International Medical Guide for Ships, produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Training and carriage requirements on medical guides are provided in relevant instruments of IMO and ILO, respectively. The importance of having access to medical care on board ships cannot be emphasised enough and medical guidelines are vital for ensuring proper knowledge and rapid response in medical emergencies.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) enjoy a close working relationship. ICS contributes significantly to IMO’s work through active participation at IMO meetings and publishing guidance in support of international regulations is evidence of that.
This guide has been produced in collaboration with maritime medical professionals from leading organisations to address an industry need in a practical manner by means of an up-to-date medical guide to help improve the standards of medical care on board.
As a former seafarer, I know first-hand how important it is that good medical care is available should any seafarers fall unwell on board a ship. In all situations that require medical attention, it is vital that the appropriate treatments, medicines and equipment are accessible, combined with the knowledge to handle any medical emergencies that may arise.
In this guide, advice is presented in a user-friendly way so that the information is straightforward and easy to understand for those with limited medical training. The Medicine Chest section of the guide includes the latest and internationally available medicines and recommended contents for a ship’s medical bag, and portable action cards have been included for crew to carry and use in a medical situation.
Seafarer welfare is of the utmost importance. Although it is always the hope that no one will require urgent medical care, we must ensure that seafarers are equipped with resources to aid them in tackling medical emergencies should they arise.
International Maritime Organization
How to use this book
Dear seafarers and fishers of the merchant fleet,
Welcome to the new International Medical Guide for Seafarers and Fishers. As the person responsible for medical care on board a ship or a fishing vessel, your role is to take care of your sick or injured colleague until professional medical services can be reached. This may be under difficult circumstances and far from land, but you are not alone: this guide is your on board companion and telemedical assistance services (TMAS) will be on hand to support you and recommend treatment that can be delivered on board. Carriage of a medical guide on board is mandatory under the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (ILO MLC). The International Maritime Organization’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (IMO STCW) outlines the mandatory minimum standards of training for officers responsible for medical care and requires seafarers to be trained in the treatment of injuries or conditions in accordance with national and international medical guides. The fishing industry requires proper medical care to be provided on board under the ILO Work in Fishing Convention, and medical training for those providing first aid care under the IMO STW-F 1995 Convention.
Structure and contents
The medical guide is not written for doctors but as a tool for you as the person responsible for medical care on board. Great efforts have been made to present the many subject areas in an accurate and accessible way. The guide is divided into four main sections – injuries; illnesses; additional information; and assessment forms and charts – and is accompanied by the Ship’s Medicine Chest, which lists the medicines and medical equipment to be carried on board.
The injuries and illnesses sections follow a fixed structure:
The guide includes several features to quickly highlight important information and help you assess and treat your colleague:
The new recommended medicine chest includes medicines that are globally available and generally easy for shipowners and suppliers to get hold of, and are referenced in the book. Always check with telemedical assistance services (TMAS) before administering medicines if advised to do so.
International Chamber of Shipping