Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (‘MLC’):
- A seafarer cannot work on a ship unless he holds a valid medical certificate stating that he is medically fit to perform the duties he is to carry out at sea.
- A country that has ratified the MLC must set out the medical examination and certificate that is needed. The certificate must:
- be in English if the ship does international voyages;
- be issued by a duly qualified medical practitioner. (Each country will decide who is qualified for this purpose, but practitioners must have professional independence); and
- be valid.
- Unless a shorter period is required, the maximum period of validity for a certificate is:
- two years – except for seafarers under 18: then it is one year
- six years for a colour vision certificate.
- If a certificate is refused, or limited, a seafarer can have a further examination by another independent medical practitioner, or by an independent medical referee.
- There is a procedure for urgent cases which allows the seafarer to carry on working for a short time with an expired medical certificate.
- A medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended, will be acceptable.
See Regulation 1.2 of the MLC.
For more information
See the ILO Frequently Asked Questions (section C5.2) at http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/maritime-labour-convention/what-it-does/faq/WCMS_177371/lang–en/index.htm