The U.K. P&I Club
's Crew Risk Management Program, aimed at higher and consistent medical examination standards for seafarers, is currently undergoing substantial expansion.
Designed to protect shipowners from claims arising from medical conditions existing prior to employment and to provide crew with a first rate health check before going to sea, more owners are joining the program as the number of rejections indicates savings of millions of dollars from reduced claims levels - more clinics are being enlisted to cope with demand.
Approximately 32,500 examinations have been carried out in the five years since the program began - 17,500 of them in the past 12 months alone.
The program began as a pilot project in August 1996 in the Philippines
, which supplies more than 20 percent of the world's seafarers whereby several hundred crew applicants were examined by three clinics in Manila on behalf of four owners.
The findings of this initial investigation indicated that clinics generally adhered to the minimum standard required by the national authority in providing fit for duty medical certificates to seafarers to obtain exit visas, therefore the club decided to retain and expand the program.
Participating clinics have to be satisfied that no disease or defect is present in crew applicants, which could be aggravated by working at sea or which represents an unacceptable health risk to the individuals or to others.
Today, approximately 28 U.K. Club shipowner members subscribe to the program representing a wide range of fleet types. There is now a well-developed network of 18 accredited clinics: five in Manila; two each in Mumbai, Zagreb and Australia
; and one each in Jakarta, Bangkok, Dublin, London, Leeds, Las Vegas and Johannesburg. Others are planned for Myanmar, Romania, Hungary and Poland later in the year.