Arbedjsmiljø forhold i søfart international

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies



Epidemiological studies in merchant seafaring are few and mainly done by use of national registers. There is a lack of studies of exposure risk factors in international perspectives.


Aim: To describe important aspects of seafarers´ working environment.


Method:  The seafarers used 5-10 minutes during the waiting time for the health examinations to complete a small, anonymous questionnaire with questions concerning the latest tour of duty. Data were collected in 11 countries: Denmark (DK), the Philippines, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, Ukraine, Russia, United Kingdom United Kingdom (UK), Poland, Indonesia and China. The questionnaire was on safety on board: (self-perceived safety, knowledge of safety representative, exposure to chemical substances and the use of personal safety equipment against chemical exposures). Injuries during the latest tour of duty were examined.

  Results and discussion: The length of the latest tour differed significantly for the different nationalities. On average 60-80 working hours per week and 80 % worked all the 7 days in the week. 

Officers were 15-30% among the Philippines and Indonesian seafarers and 80% among the seafarers from United Kingdom and Denmark. 80% of the seafarers from the UK and DK worked on ships from their own nation while the Philippines and the Indonesian seafarers mainly worked on foreign ships.

Seafarers over 50 years of age were few among the eastern nationalities.

Nearly 9% of the seafarers were injured on the latest tour of duty. Slips, trips and falls were frequently involved up to 50% of the injuries.  Seafarers from the Philippines and Indonesia had lower incidence rates of injury. The self-perceived health was generally good among the seafarers.


Discussion and conclusion: 

Non-equity between the nationalities is remarkable. Slips, trips and falls are important risk factors.  Many other important health and safety risk factors in seafaring international needs to be studied for the risk prevention at sea. The maritime health research is mainly done in a few centers in Europe, USA, Australia, China and in some other countries but none in the developing countries where there also is a need for research. International collaboration between the researchers could strengthen the impact of the research and contribute to the improvement of the working conditions at sea.


Epidemiology, merchant seafaring, questionnaire, international, injury incidences, work conditions.  

Emneord: epidemiology, seafaring, Questionnaires, International, Work conditions
Period4. Jun 2009
Event titleIst  International Congress on Maritime, Tropical and Hyperbaric Medicine, which is to be held on 4th-6th June 2009 in Gdynia on the occassion of 70th anniversary of IIMTM
Event typeConference
OrganiserMedical University of Gdansk
LocationGdynia, Poland


  • epidemiology
  • seafaring
  • Questionnaires
  • International
  • Work conditions