Seafarers’ right to emergency medical treatment ashore

There are no doubt about this right in Maritime Law and in accordance with MLC’06:

Asking for “Free Pratique” before entering port is a long standing rule, but not normally witholden, except in case of an outbreak of contagious decease among crew (or passengers).
Even then the sick person(s) are afforded medical treatment, hospitalization and eventually repatriation or burial.

But of late it has come into question by some government and port authorities taking onto themselves the authority to refuse entry to their country, or port,to ships or seafarers that MAY carry virus that cause Covid-12, (Even if no evidence of such has been found)

Is this something that is condoned by seafaring members of this forum?

littlr gitl
I know where this is going…


I can guess also.
dead horse


I don’t think you’ll find anyone condoning denial of emergency medical treatment. That is the article’s title and the only examples were in Indonesia.

As to denying a ship entry that may or may not have crew carrying a virus, that’s not denying urgent medical care.

Likewise, once a vessel has entered a port, and passed a quarantine period if so mandated by national emergency, then so after I’m sure the seafarers will have full access to routine doctors visits as before.

Heck, my employer has taken to denying crew liberty for medical appointments and dental pain unless it’s ‘life and death’. I’m not talking about l overseas. I’m talking about being tied up to the pier in Norfolk, VA, United States.

1 Like

Our “friend” had to quarantine on ship in Norfolk before flying to Seattle to quarantine again, then to Guam to quarantine again in a tent near the dock. Those guys must be sterile by now.

I’ve read several times from several different sources over the years that sailors, hermits, Antarctica base workers, isolated indigenous groups & astronauts develop weaken immune systems after not exercising their systems by introducing a new steady flow of things to fight against. When all this quarantining, staying at home & self isolation is over I wouldn’t be surprised if some people don’t get done in by the common cold.

It kind of dovetails with the ‘washing is bad for you’ philosophy.



Yet those are US Coast Guard assets in the cover photo.

So we all know what caught the bugges eye :roll_eyes:

1 Like

Not only in Indonesia I’m afraid. Quoted from the article:

They go on to say:

But is is happening in many parts of the world. It MAY happen to anybody that is active seafarer in foreign trade.

When has MLC 06 been enforced? What were the penalties?

According to the organisations “International Seafarers Right” in this article from 2014, this is how it is (should?) be done;

The Liberian Register continue to receive complains about violation of the code though:

There is no reasons to believe that this only applies to that registry.
No Law or Code of Conduct is perfect and being complied with by everybody, but MLC’06 with amendments is a step in the right direction.

As I said, the only examples in the article were from Indo. If the author wanted to add color and credence to his reporting, he could’ve said “There are more examples…in countries X, Y, and Z.” Then we could have looked to those countries for details. If you have any I’d gladly read them. But as he has provided none, and neither have you, I can’t really expand my view of this topic. I prefer to deal in details not unfounded generalizations (with, as Yankee pointed out, an off-topic photo of USCG).

It’s well known the plight of the international seaman, from provisions issues to abandonment and wage theft as pointed out in the other article you posted. But as for Emergency Medical Treatment being denied, that wasn’t discussed.

This is nothing new. Three years ago Canada refused to take a crew member having heart attack symptoms because he had a DUI ~10 years previously.

Thats sounds insane. I’ve seen guys restricted to the vessel in-port in Canada because they had prior DUIs, but I’d not heard of that incident.

We weren’t in port and I hope if that has been the case they would have let him off. It was just significantly faster to get him within launch range of Canada than within launch range of the US.