What is a medical certificate?

A seafarer’s doctor’s statement that you are fit for service on board. The medical certificate may be valid for 2 years, but only one year validity for employees under 18 years of age.

A medical certificate may be limited to a particular trade area, period of time, or service on board.

Who needs a medical certificate?

Any person commencing service on board a NOR/NIS-registered vessels shall have a valid medical certificate. This regards apprentices and cadets too.

Who does not need a medical certificate?

  • Person working on board while the ship is in port
  • Person carrying out inspections on board
  • Pupil (unless you are to be deployed for a minimum of three months)
  • Student 
  • Industrial Personnel (IP) who only accommodate on the vessel
  • Passenger/guest

Medical certificates accepted on NOR/NIS-registered vessels

The following medical certificates are accepted:


  • A medical certificate issued by an EEA country in accordance with the EEA country's regulations.


Where to keep the medical certificate?

Bring the original medical certificate (paper format) on board, to be kept by the master.


Demand for a new medical certificate

The company or the master shall demand a new medical certificate if it is likely that you no longer satisfy the regulatory health requirements.

You shall without unjustified delay inform the master or the company and consult a seafarer's doctor if you have reasons to believe that you no longer satisfy the regulatory health requirements.

Is working on board a vessel consistent with use of medication?

Medication can play an important part in enabling you to work at sea. Some medications have side effects that can affect safe and effective performance of duties, and some have other complications that may increase the likelihood of illness at sea.

The seafarer's doctor will need to assess the known adverse effects of each medication used and your reaction to it. The seafarer's doctor shall ensure that you have written documentation for medications in use.

What is a Declaration of unfitness?

If you are medically unfit, the seafarer's doctor shall issue a Declaration of unfitness.

If your health unlikely will improve within two years, the seafarer's doctor shall issue a Permanent declaration of unfitness. 

If you within two years satisfy the requirments for a medical certificate, the seafarer's doctor shall issue a Temporary declaration of unfitness.

If the seafarer's doctor who, without performing a medical examination, is made aware that you probably no longer satisfy the requirements for a medical certificate, shall issue e Provisional declaration of unfitness. The seafarer's doctor shall notify the company and yourself of the decision. The decision stands until you have been examined by a seafarer's doctor and a new decision has been made.