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Medical fitness requirement for seafarers

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A SEAFARER will only be deemed fit to work on a ship when he or she has provided a medical fitness certificate that complies with the requirements and standards specified in the Maritime (STCW Convention) Regulations 2014, and one that is still valid and has not been suspended.

This is part of the rules which make up the Maritime (Labour Convention) Regulation 2017, which is expected to be endorsed by Parliament and implemented in Fiji soon.

The regulation, which is now in its third draft, was issued to seafarers and local shipping stakeholders during consultations held nationwide to get views and feedback before necessary amendments are done to the final draft.

The regulation stated that a seafarer who has been issued a medical fitness certificate shall carry the certificate on board during the term of the seafarer's employment on a ship.

It also clearly highlighted that a seafarer whose medical certificate had expired during the course of a voyage may continue to work on the condition that:

* at the first port of call where possible, the seafarer has to make an application for a medical fitness certificate and be examined by an approved medical practitioner or recognised foreign medical practitioner; and

* the expiry of three months starting from the date of expiry of the certificate.

The draft convention stated no person may work as a seafarer on a ship in a capacity of sea service or in a geographical area precluded by any restriction in that person's medical fitness certificate.

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