April 1, 2005

Seafarer medical screening yields big savings

The American P&I Club says its pre-employment medical examination program (PEME) in the Ukraine is producing "dramatic savings, to the tune of at least US $1.27 million," in the first year.

In Odessa to mark the program's first anniversary, Dr. William Moore, VP of technical services and loss prevention for the club, said he was pleasantly surprised to find from a review of the first year's results "that in our very conservative estimates we have averted approximately $1.27 million in illness-related claims."

The PEME program was launched in March 2004, the American Club being the first, and only, P&I club to have approved clinics for PEME in the Ukraine. Due to the success of the program, and the needs of its members, the club has added one more clinic in Mariupol in addition to the four in Odessa.

Dr. Moore said: "The program has been mutually beneficial for the club and our approved clinics. We have interfaced regularly with the clinics and our members in this programme and it has paid off."

During 2004, over 8,000 examinations were carried out to the American Club's medical standards. These identified 100 cases as seafarers permanently unfit for duty. "Of these," said Dr. Moore, "we estimate that at least 15 would eventually result in costly claims. In addition, we know that both these and less severe cases could also cost our members in medical treatment, repatriations, and deviation costs in some cases."

"We are optimistic," said Dr. Moore, "that a similar trend will be seen at the first anniversary in April of the club's PEME program in the Philippines, using six clinics, and we again urge members to use our approved clinics in these countries."

In fact, a number of shipowners with vessels not entered with the club have requested that the medical examination of their crew members be made to the club's standard.

Statistics published recently by a number of leading P&I clubs, unfit or sick seafarers, coupled with fatigue, account for the largest segment of all claims.

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