Along with increased worldwide incidence of diabetes, the frequency of its occurrence among persons employed on seagoing vessels has also grown (12). According to the current regulations, persons treated with insulin are not admitted to work at sea, and those treated with oral drugs have a markedly limited access to such a work. This may lead to concealing the fact of being a diabetic, thus enhancing the existing hazards.
Current improved methods of glycemia self-control and treatment of diabetes have radically improved vital abilities of diabetics.
Having this in mind, a question arises whether the binding regulations on the fitness of diabetics for work at sea should be verified.
Work at sea, diabetes and its hazards, legislative regulations
The main goal set by the authors of this paper is to discuss fitness of seamen having diabetes for the work at sea. This problem has become even more important in the light of the increased incidence of this disease observed worldwide in this occupational group (16), which is close to that noted in the general population, fluctuating between 5% and 7%. This tendency pertains chiefly to type 2 diabetes, accounting for about 90% of diagnosed diabetes cases (19).
At the same time, the progress in modern methods of diabetes control and management allow diabetics to take up normal life activities. Professional career is one of the fundamental aspects of life of everybody, and the fact that diabetes was diagnosed should not significantly limit his ability to work in his occupation (10).
Such an opinion and its implications are comprised in the recommendations and directives of the European Union. The exception is the situation when the health state of the diabetic poses a threat to the safety of other persons.
Dr Bogdan Jaremin, MD, PhD,
Dr Kinga Szymańska, MD,
Dr Katarzyna Chełmińska, MD,
Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia,
Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland
Address for correspondence:
Dr Bogdan Jaremin
Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine,
Powstania Styczniowego street 9 B,
Fax: +48-58-622 3354,