Martek Marine reported a significant increase in marine defibrillator sales in 2013, up 475% on 2012, with over four months of the year remaining. These sales include an order of more than 100 AEDs to Swire’s entire China Navigation fleet, as Swire beat the new Maritime Labour Convention’s (MLC) August deadline to have a marine defibrillator on every vessel, with crew trained in its use. Other customers include Bernhard Schulte Management, Chemikalien Seatransport and Topaz Energy & Marine.
Ian Couldwell, Martek’s AED Product Manager, said, “It is extremely encouraging to see the positive response to MLC 2006. Of course these changes are required under law but regulation like MLC puts these often-overlooked safety devices and procedures into the thoughts of shipping management. As each new level of safety comes into legislation, the bar continues to be raised and the difficult, dangerous job of seafaring becomes a little bit safer, and we should always be looking to raise that level of safety.”
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) kills more than 3 million people each year. In the United States, one person dies of an SCA every two minutes. The only proven way to treat SCA is by delivering an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. Fatality rates are so high because it is difficult to administer the necessary treatment in time, even ashore. Administering treatment at sea is considerably more difficult. This is why it is so important that marine defibrillators are accessible to crew and easy to understand and use quickly, even for somebody with no medical knowledge.
Men are three times more likely to die of SCA and the risk increases significantly after the age of 45. According to a BIMCO/ISF Manpower update in 2005, more than half of officers from OECD countries are over the age of 40 and more than 25% are over the age of 50, putting them at particular risk of SCA.
Research from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India, have found that one in twenty five Indians carries a genetic heart defect which makes them seven times more likely to suffer heart failure than somebody who doesn’t carry the gene. With many seafarers coming from India and obesity on the rise, the risk posed by SCA is significant.
The requirement for appropriate medical aids will see a substantial improvement in safety delivered by MLC 2006, since the installation of defibrillators was previously advised by some flag states but was compulsory only in a very limited number, including Germany.
Martek’s Lifeforce defibrillator was found by an independent study at the University of Illinois Medical Center to have the highest success rate, at 92%, of five leading defibrillators when it came to a test subject being able to use them to administer an effective shock.
Lifeforce, type-approved by Germanischer Lloyd as the world’s only type-approved defibrillator, also comes with an eight-year warranty,