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Re: Seamen's House

Geplaatst: vr 04 nov 2016, 15:25
door Jan van der Doe

Re: Seamen's House

Geplaatst: ma 21 nov 2016, 23:30
door Jan van der Doe
Crew wellbeing improves as UK P&I PEME programme celebrates its 20th anniversary
in Marine Insurance P&I Club News 22/11/2016

UK.P&I Club.

In the 20 years since UK P&I Club first established its pre-employment medical examination (PEME) programme, the number of crew members failing their PEME examination has fallen from 11% in 1996 to a current figure of 3.25%, reflecting a combination of increased fitness and wellbeing of crew globally, as well as tighter selection criteria.

The PEME Programme, which is part of UK P&I’s Loss Prevention department, began in the Philippines with just five clinics located in Manila and six members who collectively employed approximately 1000 crew. Today, it boasts 65 clinics in 24 countries, including 16 in Philippines, located in Manila, Iloilo City, Davao City and Cebu. Over the past20 years more than 355,000 medical examinations have been conducted under the PEME Programme, with examination rates currently running at around 1500 per month.
Since the start of the Programme in 1996 the number of shipowner members supporting the scheme has grown substantially and now includes tankers, dry cargo, bulk carrier fleets and some major cruise operators. The approved clinic network now serves the crew health needs of 70 members recruiting tens of thousands of crew worldwide.
Having originally been created as a loss prevention initiative for the benefit of UK P&I Club members, with an aim to reduce the increasing cost of crew illness and repatriation claims arising from a pre-existing medical condition, participation in the PEME programme is now open to split fleets and wholly non-UK P&I Club entered fleets, and also attracts enquiries from outside the world of shipping (offshore operators and transport terminal operators, for example).

Commenting on how crew fitness levels have changed over the past 20 years, Sophia Bullard, PEME Programme Director, notes:
“Initial crew fitness failures came from crew who had liver disorders, Hepatitis B, high blood pressure and pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Today we see a similar picture with the exception of liver disorders which has disappeared completely from our “top 10” reasons for failure.
“Despite localised initiatives of immunisation and safe health practices crew with Hepatitis B are still the highest group of crew failing the medical examination process. High blood pressure and PTB remain endemic in our findings. The additional reason of hearing defects joined the list of preventable illnesses detected amongst the majority of crew going through the scheme.
“During the last 10 years we have noted a growth in medical failures attributed to lifestyle conditions. Health problems such as kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes remain within our ‘top 10’ unfit reasons and these ‘silent killers’ are the focus of our attention and prevention activities moving forwards with the PEME Programme.”

Dr. Axibal from the Angelus Medical Clinic in the Philippines (one of the original clinics that has been part of the PEME programme since 1996) adds: “When we started the PEME programme 20 years’ ago, we found that seafarers feared medical examinations. But now seafarers welcome the tests and have learnt to listen to their doctors’ advice on where they need to make lifestyle modifications.
“We have also found that unfitness rates in seafarers have significantly dropped since the PEME programme started and that makes us very proud to be partners of the UK P&I’s PEME programme and its commitment to ensure a fit and healthy workforce.”

Source: UK P&I Club

Re: Seamen's House

Geplaatst: vr 23 dec 2016, 19:58
door Jan van der Doe

Re: Seamen's House

Geplaatst: za 31 dec 2016, 21:12
door Jan van der Doe
Saturday 31 December 2016 Lloyds List

Stress testing
Thursday 29 December 2016
by Michael Grey

UNDER the glass of the chart table, in the chartrooms of 10,000 ships and in umpteen languages, appropriate to that spoken on board, was once to be found an ironic, non-navigational, observation.
“You don’t have to be mad to work here — but it helps!” was a decent enough joke in its time, but in recent years, it has rather lost its resonance with those on board ship.
Of course they don’t have chart tables in the all-singing, all-dancing, fully integrated e-navigational workstations that delight modern seafarers. Maybe they just affix Post-It notes to some convenient bulkhead. That is, if they have any vestiges of humour left in their stressed lives.
All of which becomes less likely, if you consider the amount of effort that is currently being put into the mental wellbeing of seafarers, largely on account of their straitened, socially impoverished existence.
Just the other day, The Shipowners’ P&I Club, in conjunction with the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, produced their latest crew health information, with two eminently sensible and practical papers on the maintenance of mental wellbeing; one focusing on mental problems and the other looking at the negatives and positives of digital technology upon the isolated seafarer.

A few remarks leap out at the reader.
“Many of the remedies for minor problems are in the hands of those who create the conditions under which seafarers work and live...”
“Owners know that seafarers’ health is of paramount importance..."
“Mental health continues to be a cause of Club claims...”
There is clearly no shortage of academic rigour that has gone into this work, and we should appreciate and acknowledge it. But you don’t have to be a professor of clinical psychiatry to identify the reasons for the upsurge in mental problems and the consequences of serious social isolation.
These, any intelligent seafarer will tell you, are the products of the way that modern merchant ships are manned and operated and almost certainly contributed to by their design, in which the needs of the crew tend to be a minute afterthought in the minds of those responsible.
So, who creates the conditions that give rise to these problems? If you are looking at root causes, it is the lack of reasonable reward for people who operate ships, forcing them to run them on what we would call “the smell of an oily rag”, with intense concentration upon the reduction of running costs.
The Steamship paper underlines the importance of “a mutually supportive team”, but where is the social cohesion and team spirit in a gang of overworked people who barely comprehend each other and are plucked from different cultures?

It speaks about the importance of morale, and all of us who have served at sea know the problems of an “unhappy” ship and the fun you can have when the opposite is the case.
There are some hopeful pictures of some seamen playing basketball (quite where is unclear), but when you speak to seafarers today, “fun” seems to be an unknown quantity and we maybe ought to learn why.
There are hints; people are worried about criminalisation, shift patterns, the quality of sleep, pressure of inspections and commercial pressures, fast turnarounds with no chance of a spell ashore, language, strangers rather than colleagues.

Then there is the “end of solidarity and sociability”, with people shut away in their cabins using their devices. No wonder there is stress and burnout, even real depression, when the voyage goes on and on, in such miserable circumstances.
We might ask: who cares? Well, somebody does, and you would like to think it was because of more than claims on the P&I Club, from people who have been broken by the life they found they were leading. Iswan does and all credit to them.
But does anyone who operates ships, or who is responsible for their manning and operational scheduling, really care about this?
When I made several of these points at an international manning conference a few years ago, I was firmly told by somebody who might have been influential in these respects: —“This is what is on offer and you better put up with it!”

Does anyone who designs ships ever consider what it might be like to sail in them? On some of the biggest ships in the world, the designers are so consumed with the need to cram a few extra containers on board that people who live on these monsters can’t even look out of their windows at the sea.
A really brilliant piece of design work even shoved the accommodation out of the way to load a few more boxes. "Seafarers," you could almost imagine them saying, “are such a nuisance!”
Designers do what they are asked, so it is those who write the specifications, who jolly well should be shanghaied and forced to spend four months in one of the hideous, utilitarian, monstrosities that answer their commercial requirements at the expense of those who live on board them, along with a dozen or so people who speak no known language.
“It’s like a prison except that you aren’t locked in,” a junior officer on a containership once told me, “except when we go to the US, when we are.”

Concern with the mental health of seafarers is admirable and overdue, but we should be addressing the root causes and not talking about the symptoms and diagnosis.
And, at the end of the day, it is all about money, saving costs, finding the cheapest crews on earth and surviving in an era when shipping just does not financially wash its industrial face.
We need to do better than that in a happier New Year.

Re: Seamen's House

Geplaatst: vr 20 jan 2017, 05:17
door Jan van der Doe