Key figures

  • From 1st January 2017 through 31st December 2018, the American Club’s network of approved clinics performed 20,080 mandatory pre-employment medical examinations (PEMEs) for seafarers of Bulgarian, Indian, Indonesian, Latvian, Filipino, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian and Polish nationalities.
  • 18,231 (91%) seafarers met the medical requirements contained in the Club’s Guidelines and were deemed “fit for duty” upon completion of their American Club approved PEME
  • 1,274 (6.3%) seafarers were found to be “temporarily unfit for duty” but, with certain lifestyle changes and/or oral medications, capable of re-examination in a relatively short period for potential upgrade to a higher level of fitness for duty.
  • Only 519 (2.6%) seafarers examined globally were found “permanently unfit for duty”.
  • In summary, of the PEMEs conducted, only 1,793 (9%) seafarers were found to be unfit for duty at the time of the medical examination.
  • 16,089 (80.2%) of all PEMEs were conducted in the Philippines (57.1%) and Ukraine (23.1%) respectively.


Most frequent circumstances of ill health affecting seafarers:

-5,014 circumstances of ill health were identified from the 20,080 PEMEs based upon the 24 medical factors set forth in the American Club’s Guidance on Standards for Pre-Employment Medical Examinations (PEMEs), Third Edition.

-The top three medical conditions accounting for 72.4% of circumstances of ill health observed during American Club PEMEs were:

  • overall physical condition—1,802 cases observed (35.9%);
  • blood sugar and diabetes—1,081 cases observed (21.6%) (combination of tests (17)+(19)+(21)); and
  • miscellaneous conditions of ill health—747 cases observed (14.9%).

-Given the scope of the physical examination covering several basic physical and visual examinations, most observations were found to be relevant to obesity as per measurements of the Body Mass Index (BMI).

-Blood sugar and diabetic conditions have become more easily diagnosed and were treated with oral medications in many cases.

-Many of the clinics noted specific conditions of ill health which are becoming of a chronic nature for seafarers. These conditions include obesity, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, problematic lipid profiles relevant to poor eating habits, chronic liver conditions, and gall stones.


Ill health making seafarers “permanently unfit for duty”

-519 circumstances of ill health were identified causing seafarers to be designated as permanently unfit for duty. These incidents were only observed in Philippines (350 cases), Ukraine (167 cases) and India (2 cases).

-The most frequent circumstances of ill health designating a seafarer to be permanently unfit for duty were:

  • fasting blood sugar & diabetes related conditions—59 (26%) permanently unfit designations;
  • drug and alcohol & urinalysis—45 (19.7%) permanently unfit designations.

Most medical conditions observed by our approved clinic network are lifestyle related, attributed to seafarer’s dietary habits. Plainly stated, there is too much sugar, salt and fat in diets...Members are highly encouraged to further consider these dietary issues when ordering food consumables for their fleet,

...the Club noted concluding.


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