The specificity of the marine work environment lies in the diversity of hazards to health, life and safety of seamen, fishermen, platform and port workers, and sea rescuers. They are basically different from risks encountered by workers on land. This is reflected by adoption of numerous international maritime labour conventions, recommendations and directives of the ILO, IMO, EU and the national maritime authorities collaborating with the ITF and other trade unions. Such conventions are formulated after conducting research projects in maritime medicine centers in many countries, and after getting their expert opinions.
Since 1939, the Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia
, and since 2003 the Interfaculty Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine of the Medical University of Gdańsk, has been engaged in these activities, exchanging the information and experiences with centers in other countries, and has worked in close links to the activities of international societies as ICOH and IMHA.
The research in Gdynia is conducted by the WHO Inter-regional Collaborating Center of Maritime Occupational Health, the Clinic of Occupational and Internal Diseases, and other Departments of the Institute.
The work conducted during the last 5 decades in Gdynia has been reflected by publishing over 2000 papers on maritime medicine, hyperbaric medicine, tropical and travel medicine, epidemiology and hygiene, which were published in the journal International Maritime Health (formerly the Bulletin of the Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia)
and in other Polish and international medical journals, as well as in Polish and WHO maritime medicine textbooks. The Institute has also conducted the national and international postgraduate training courses on maritime medicine, specialization programs for physicians, education of maritime university students in health matters and sea rescue, and has participated in legislation procedures and the organization of health services for maritime workers.
Following the decision of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Poland and the authorities of the Medical University of Gdańsk, on 25 October 2006 the National Center of Maritime Medicine was established in Gdynia, as a reference centre. Its mission is expressed by the motto: Health and safety in maritime work environment.
The Center continues and coordinates the Institute’s activities in:
- the research and exchange of experiences in the field of maritime medicine and health, and monitoring of health hazards in marine environment,
- taking part in legislative procedures, organization of health protection and proposing improvements regarding the safety of work at sea and in ports,
- securing better standards of the health examinations of seafarers and fishermen, and of their health care,
- providing psychological support for seafarers,
- introducing new medical techniques to maritime practice, including tele-medicine,
- ensuring better access to recreation and sport facilities for seafarers,
- education and training of the medical staff and seafarers.
It is a pleasure to announce this development to our Colleagues from the IMHA and to all those who are interested in maritime medicine and related disciplines.
We would also like to appeal for and offer institutional and personal collaboration, in its widest meaning, to our Colleagues from prestigious foreign research centers in Antwerp, Brest, Bremen, Cardiff, Cape Town, Esbjerg, Hamburg, Lorient, Manila, Odessa, Oslo, Rijeka, Rome, Singapore, Stockholm, Swansea, Tarragona, Turku and other places.
We believe that our joint efforts and consolidated activities will successfully contribute to the global project, being a motto of the IX International Symposium on Maritime Health in Esbjerg: Equity in Maritime Health and Safety
Bogdan Jaremin, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor
Head of the National Center of Maritime Medicine