Medical certification

Image of blood pressure measurement

In order to work on board a ship, seafarers must make a valid health certificate available documenting that the seafarer has been found fit for ship service, if relevant with certain limitations, through the special medical examination of seafarers and fishermen.

When the seafarer signs on, he or she must make their health certificate available to the master for as long as the seafarer serves on board.

The health certificate must be issued by an authority, which has implemented The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and ratified The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC).

For certificates issued in Denmark, The Danish Maritime Authority determines the form and contents of the certificate and it is in both Danish and English. The certificate is based on a medical examination of the seafarer.

Read more about medical examinations

Maritime medical practitioners

In Denmark, only maritime medical practitioners appointed by the Danish Maritime Authority who have been assigned a special maritime medical practitioner’s number must carry out medical examinations. In Greenland, a duly qualified physician can carry out the medical examination.

List of approved medical practitioners

The maritime medical practitioner uses the digital medical certificate prescribed by the Danish Maritime Authority laying down, inter alia, the scope of the medical examination and whether the seafarer is fit for lookout duty. The maritime medical practitioner must transfer the result of the medical examination by application of a digital platform. The health certificate may be issued through automatic data processing based on the result of the medical examination.

Period of validity

For seafarers of 18 years of age or older, the medical examination and thus also the health certificate has a validity of 2 years, calculated from the date of the examination, whereas the medical examination for seafarers below the age of 18 has a validity of 1 year. However, the examining medical practitioner can limit the medical examination and thus the period of validity of the health certificate. If the period of validity of the health certificate expires during a ship's voyage, the certificate remains valid until its first call at a port where it is possible to carry out the examination without unnecessary delay, however no more than 3 months from the date of expiry.


The decision by the maritime medical practitioner that a seafarer is unfit for ship service or fit with limitations and the subsequent endorsement of the health certificate can be brought in writing before the special Danish Shipping Tribunal, which has inter alia maritime medical knowledge. The Danish Shipping Tribunal is a Danish independent public authority. As regards complaints about decisions about the importance of a seafarer's sight and hearing for the work on board, the Danish Maritime Authority is the complaint authority.

Read more about complaints about medical examinations



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