Medical certification

Image of blood pressure measurement

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

The form and contents of the certificate is determined by the Danish Maritime Authority and it is in both Danish and English.

In Denmark, medical examinations must be carried out only by maritime medical practitioners appointed by the Danish Maritime Authority who have been assigned a special maritime medical practitioner's number. An over­view of maritime medical practitioners is available from the webpage of the Danish Maritime Authority. Outside Denmark, the medical examination can be carried out by medical practitioners ap­prov­ed in the relevant country to carry out national medical examinations of seafarers.

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. If the examination is carried out outside Denmark, the English paper version of the medical certificate is used with the associated guidelines containing information about when a seafarer's diseases and defects result in un­fitness for ship service, limitations in the period of validity, the work area on board or the trade area. The medi­cal certificate is available for downloading from the webpage of the Danish Maritime Authority. Other medical certificates must not be used for medical examinations outside Denmark unless otherwise provided by the Danish Maritime Authority’s webpage.

The maritime medical practitioner issues or endorses the seafarer's health certificate as regards the result of the medical examination and whether the examination of the seafarer's sight and hearing makes him or her fit for lookout duty. In this connection, the maritime medical practitioner states his name and address and stamps the certificate with the assigned maritime medical practitioner's number. If the medical examination is done outside Denmark, the master issue the seafarer's health certificate stating the examining medical practitioner's name and address as well as the master's name and the ship's name. The Danish Maritime Authority can also issue a health certificate to a seafarer or endorse it.

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 also 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.

When the seafarer signs on, he or she must hand over the health certificate to the master who must keep it for as long as the seafarer serves on board.


The decision by the maritime medical practitioner or by the foreign medical practitioner that a seafarer is unfit for ship service or fit with limitations and the subsequent endorsement of the health certificate can in writing be brought 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.



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