Managing Medical Emergencies at Sea: Risks and responses

Medical emergencies aboard ships at sea pose a continuing risk to the life and health of seafarers. They also have adverse financial and operational consequences for ship operators.

This course will consider how such risks can be prevented and mitigated, both by action in advance of an incident and by effective management of emergencies when they arise. Approaches to predicting and assessing the likelihood of medical emergencies will be presented. Methods for the critical analysis of the effectiveness with which they are managed will be discussed and evaluated. Risk assessment and risk management will be considered in an integrated way to enable participants to develop the skills for optimizing procedures within the maritime sector and thus ensuring safer working conditions for seafarers.

Course objectives

Participants will gain experience and understanding of:

  1. The identification and assessment of the risks of medical emergencies at sea. The differing perspectives of seafarers, trainers, health professionals, shipping managers and regulatory authorities will be reviewed.
  2. The role of operational planning in emergency preparedness.
  3. The impact of incidents on different stakeholders within the shipping industry.
  4. The frequency and severity of medical emergencies at sea.
  5. The role of factors including international conventions and national regulations, training, the ship’s medical guide, medical equipment on board and support from remote medical assistance services, in managing both the risk and their consequences.
  6. The risks and benefits of medical evacuation, port health care and repatriation.

Target group

The course is aimed at health care professionals and related staff, including those working within shipping companies, P&I clubs, in the medical selection of seafarers, as providers of remote medical assistance services and in port health clinics.

Course outline

The course will consist of:

  • presentations on different aspects of managing the risks of medical emergencies at sea given by lecturers with expertise in each aspect,
  • discussion sessions on key topics,
  • sessions of group work based on scenarios and case studies.
  • plenary sessions to enable wider discussion of the points raised during group work.
  • participants will have opportunities to share personal experiences and perspectives with one another as part of the learning process.

Main topics

  • the nature and diversity of risk in the maritime environment
  • risk identification and assessment
  • experience in risk management in the military/navy
  • experience in risk management in the offshore industry
  • the ethical considerations of risk management
  • frequency and severity of medical emergencies at sea
  • current regulatory arrangements and the realities of their implementation
  • the changing role of telemedical advisory services
  • medical evacuation – practicalities and difficulties
  • the care of seafarers in port clinics and hospitals
  • repatriation of seafarers after treatment
  • communication and confidentiality
  • the potential of maritime broadband in medical care at sea
  • operational planning methods and examples
  • reducing the impact of a medical emergency at sea

Registration deadline

Registration is closed. Please contact the course coordinator.




The total price of the course consists of two parts:

1) The course fee of EUR 500 and

2) One of the following:

The day package I fee of EUR 520 or
The day package II fee of EUR 340

  • Day package

    Day package I

    The day package I price is EUR 520/person. This price includes conference facilities and technical equipment, coffees, lunches, two dinners and the social program.

    The total price of the course is EUR 1020 (course fee EUR 500 + day package fee EUR 520).


    Day package II

    The day package II price is EUR 340/person. This price includes conference facilities and technical equipment, coffees and lunches.

    The total price of the course is EUR 840 (course fee EUR 500 + day package II fee EUR 340).
    Kindly note that the day package II does not include dinners nor the social program.


    The prices are subject to minor changes.

  • Accommodation

    NIVA has made a block reservation for the accommodation 29th of October - 1st of November 2018 at Hotel Marienlyst, Helsingør, Denmark.

    To book a room from the block kindly make the reservation directly from the hotel through this link.

    The room price for a single room is DKK 1145 / night (including breakfast and VAT).

    The block reservation will be available until 28th of September 2018, so we recommend you make a reservation as soon as possible.

  • Payment info

    Cancellation and refund policy

    Cancellations received by September 13th 2018: full refund
    Cancellations received after September 13th 2018: no refund

    The total price of the course will be invoiced after the registration deadline.
    The invoice will be sent to you by e-mail.

    The prices are subject to minor changes.

Contact person

Course Leader
Suzanne Stannard
Norwegian Centre for Maritime Medicine

Course Coordinator 
Erika Gustafsson
mobile: +358 40 579 5787


Course venue

Hotel Marienlyst, Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark

Course program


Seafaring is a high-risk occupation, which has specific issues in responding to injury and illness, both at sea and in ports distant from the seafarer’s home country.  There is scope for improving the care, survival and recovery of seafarers who become injured or acutely ill. There have been a number…

Read more

Course Leader

Suzanne Stannard


Agnar Tveten
Arne Johan Ulven
Hege Sofie Imsen
Henrik Hansen
Marie Hamming
Tim Carter
Vivek Menon

General information

Course fee and payment The courses and workshops vary in price. Please note that the course fee does not cover meals or accommodation. The course fee and day-package fee are invoiced after the registration deadline. Travel arrangements Please refrain from booking any tickets until we have confirmed the course. The confirmation, which will be sent after the registration deadline, will include detailed information on the payment of the course fee and day-packages, as well as information on accommodation options and practical arrangements. Please note that you are not insured by NIVA. Accommodation Fore more information about accommodation options please see the…

Read more