The usefulness and practicality of the International Medical Guide for Ships

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The third edition of the International Medical Guide for Ships (IMGS) was published in 2007 and supported a main principle of the newly adopted International Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006: to ensure that seafarers are given health protection and medical care as comparable as possible to that which is available to workers ashore. In 2021, the revisions and drafting of the fourth edition of the IMGS began. Taking the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration, it was decided that a stakeholder study was necessary to ascertain the usefulness and practicality of the guide as well as provide input for which new topics to include.

Materials and methods:
The study applied data triangulation, with respondents from a geographically
broad sample of the International Maritime Organization‘s five regional areas of the world. The data was analysed using thematic analysis.

The results show that the IMGS is widely known and used among persons involved in medical care on board ships, but the IMGS is not as practical as stakeholders would wish it to be. For the guide to be useful, it must be ensured that telemedical advice information is included and if possible, ensure there is one single and global medical guide. Also, there is a need for new medical information, and respondents pointed to pandemic information, medicines list, medical chest, mental health issues, a women’s section, updated cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructions, human immune defect virus information (human immune defect-virus) and information on how seafarers may self-monitor and be monitored on board in relation to chronic diseases.

Respondents understand a medicine chest on board is mandatory according to the MLC 2006, 98% are familiar with its content, and 86% use the IMGS.

medical guide, International Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, maritime health, seafarers’ health, maritime medicine
TidsskriftInternational Maritime Health
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)181-188
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 28. dec. 2022


  • Medical guide
  • MLC 2006
  • Maritime health
  • Seafarers’ health
  • Maritime medicine


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