Medical certificate/Declaration of unfitness

  • Published: 18/08/2017
  • Changed: 08/05/2018

If you are commencing service on board Norwegian vessels, you shall have a valid medical certificate according to Regulations of 5 June 2014 No. 805 on medical examination of employees on Norwegian ships and mobile offshore units (Health Regulations).

What is a medical certificate?

A medical certificate is an approved seafarer’s doctor’s statement that you are fit for service on board Norwegian vessels.

The medical certificate is valid for 2 years. Medical certificates issued to employees under 18 years of age are valid for one year.

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

If you fail to satisfy the regulatory health requirements, the seafarer’s doctor shall issue a declaration of unfitness.

Who needs a medical certificate?

Any person commencing service on board Norwegian ships and mobile offshore units shall have a valid medical certificate. Exceptions from this requirement appears in Section 2 in the Health Regulations.

Medical certificates accepted on Norwegian vessels

Persons working on board Norwegian ships shall have a medical certificate in accordance with the Health Regulations. This implies the following alternatives:

1. You may have a medical certificate issued by a seafarer’s doctor approved
by Norwegian authorities. Please find the list of approved seafarer’s doctors here.

2. You may alternatively have a medical certificate issued in your home country or most recent country of residence provided that this country is an EEA country, cf. Section 4 second paragraph in the Health Regulations.

3. You may have a medical certificate issued by flag states approved by the
Norwegian Maritime Authority, c.f. Section 4 third paragraph in the Health Regulations. At present the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and the People’s Republic of China  are approved flag states.

This means that an ENG1 Medical Certificate issued by a UK/ MCA approved doctor, a Dutch Seafarer Medical Certificate (SMC) issued by an approved doctor with the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment in the Nederlands, a German certificate issued by an authorized doctor with the Maritime Medical Service of the BG Verkehr or a Medical Certificate for Seafarers of the People’s Republic of China issued by a recognized China MSA Medical Practitioner is valid for persons working on board Norwegian ships.

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 satisfies 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 yours 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 fail to satisfy the requirements for a medical certificate set forth in the Health Regulations, and it is unlikely that your health will improve within two years, the seafarer’s doctor shall issue a permanent declaration of unfitness.

If you fail to satisfy the requirements for a medical certificate set forth in the Health Regulations, but where you within two years may be able to satisfy the requirements of the regulations, 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 there is every probability that you no longer satisfy the requirements for a medical certificate, shall issue a provisional declaration of unfitness. The seafarer’s doctor shall notify the company, master and employee of the decision. A decision relating to provisional unfitness shall stand until a seafarer's doctor have examined you again and a new decision is pursuant to section 10 or 11 in the Health Regulations.

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