Crew Medical Initiative Debuted in Ukraine

Thursday, March 25, 2004
The American Club is the first P&I insurer to set up a program for pre-employment medical examinations (PEME) in the Ukraine.

Claims resulting from pre-existing illnesses have been a big problem for shipowners and P&I clubs alike. However, certain illnesses and medical conditions can be identified during a PEME, and the American Club plans to establish an ‘approved’ list of quality clinics in labour-supplying countries where club members employ seafarers.

It is estimated that approximately 60% of the vessels entered with the club have Ukrainian and/or Filipino crews.

Paul Sa, chairman of the American Club, said today: “In view of this, the directors have accepted the managers’ recommendation that the club initiates a clinic approval programme in the Ukraine and Philippines. This is a voluntary programme but we urge our members to employ seafarers who have undergone PEMEs at the club’s approved list of clinics. This is another important step in our continuing efforts to improve loss prevention measures."

Joe Hughes, chief executive of managers Shipowners Claims Bureau Inc., said: “Although other clubs have similar programmes in the Philippines, we are the first to establish this facility in the Ukraine which, we hope, may encourage other clubs to take similar initiatives that benefit the maritime community at large.

“The programme will be ongoing, and we will continuously monitor illness-related claims to ensure that members’ crews can undergo PEMEs at one of the club’s approved clinics. Further, we will undertake an annual assessment of the clinics to ensure that a quality standard is maintained for the PEMEs.”

Speaking in Odessa, where a reception for the first four listed clinics, local manning agents and regulatory authorities was held, Dr William Moore, vice president, loss prevention and technical services, for the managers, said the club had established a minimum list of 17 medical tests for the clinics to carry out, ranging from a physical examination to a stress test.

“In addition to the four clinics in the Ukraine, we have listed six in the Philippines, and full details are being circulated to club members. The latter programme will be finalised in Manila at the end of April.

“Under the individual agreements, each approved clinic will furnish the club with statistics every six months, identifying the number of members’ seafarers who pass or fail the PEME.”

Dr Moore added: “The PEME initiative is the first in a series of loss prevention and risk control measures implemented by the managers to control the frequency and cost of personal injury and illness-related claims. With our PEME approval programme, we are addressing our concerns for the selection of medically fit seafarers. Additional initiatives on prevention and mitigation of personal injury claims are under development.”

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