Crew members’ medical fitness to serve at sea is ensured with a medical certificate issued by a medical examiner of seafarers. As a rule, the medical certificate is valid for two years from its date of issue. In exceptional cases, the certificate’s period of validity may be restricted, for instance, because of an illness. Medical certificates issued to seafarers under 18 years of age are valid for one year. Medical certificates on colour vision are valid for six years.
When first entering the industry, crew members must undergo a ‘pre-sea examination’. For international voyages, the pre-sea examination must take place at a health centre for seafarers. Provisions on health centres for seafarers are laid down in the Health Care Act (1326/2010). Under section 19 of the Act, health care services for seafarers must be provided in the following cities and municipalities: Helsinki, Hamina, Kemi, Kotka, Oulu, Jakobstad/Pietarsaari, Pori, Rauma, Savonlinna, Turku and Vaasa. Pre-sea examinations for domestic voyages and periodic examinations for domestic and international voyages must be performed by a medical examiner of seafarers but they do not have to take place at a health centre for seafarers.
Anyone working on a Finnish vessel must have a certificate from an approved medical examiner on their medical fitness to serve at sea.
Medical certificates are issued by medical examiners of seafarers, and they are submitted to the shipowner or shipping company. When applying for a certificate of competency, the application submitted to Traficom must be accompanied by a medical certificate.
If you are unhappy with the fitness assessment made by a medical examiner of seafarers, you can submit a claim for a revised decision to Traficom. If you are unhappy with the decision taken by Traficom following your claim, you can make an appeal to an administrative court.