- CURRENT NEWS
- 28 April 2021
THE MARITIME AND COASTGUARD AGENCY (MCA) has not updated the regulations for medicines and medical equipment to be carried on board been updated since 1995.
Whether triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic or as a long-overdue update, there are now prescribed changes to the pharmaceuticals and medical equipment required on board superyachts in both categories A and B.
As the Master of a Category A or B superyacht, here is what you need to know about MSN 1905.
First, there is a window of opportunity to update your onboard medical equipment and drugs. It is either by March 2022 or before the expiration of your Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) certificate, whichever is sooner.
Depending on the age of your existing medical kit on board, the changes could be substantial, and it is now recommended that medical supplies are obtained from medically qualified individuals and/or companies experienced and knowledgeable in the supply to the maritime industry.
The list of pharmaceuticals, equipment and medical devices is extensive and the directive recommends the owner and captain seek the advice of a medical practitioner to tailor the medical stores to the journey to be undertaken.
Medaire’s Director of Education, Brent Palmer summarised, “When cruising, it’s important to ensure your medical kit is always fully stocked, well arranged, and easily accessible to handle the situation at hand.
“Crew members need to be fully trained in the event of a serious injury like catastrophic bleeding, where three to five different items might need to be quickly used to stop blood loss.”
“In this scenario, new recommended MCA 1905 items that can increase the chances of survival are a tourniquet to stop external blood loss and tranexamic acid to promote blood clotting, which is injected using intraosseous infusion.”
“It’s important to ensure not only that your medical kit meets the new requirements but is also appropriate for the types of environments you are travelling in and that crew members are confident using the equipment and medication.”
Some of the new additions include:
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, there is now a requirement the captain “protect the health and safety of crew, minimise the risk of infection and provide preventive measures such as vaccination.”
This could be the first indication of the MCA’s direction on the COVID-19 vaccine for seafarers.
For those cruising the Great Southern Route, Palmer suggested: “Over the past few years MedAire has seen increasing cases of severe skin infections from minor scratches.
“Superficial skin infections are very common in the tropics and commonly lead to tropical ulcers and, in a constantly wet environment, become difficult to treat.”
“The best course of action is to aggressively clean all breaks in the skin as soon as possible using a bottle of iodine solution (Betadine) with a number of cut-up gauze squares in a container.
“As each person comes back on board, they check themselves over and, if there is a break in the skin, soak the gauze square in iodine and scrub the wound for a good 20 to 30 seconds.
If the wound starts looking red or infected, apply mupirocin ointment with a breathable dressing on top. It’s important to have a good range of antibiotics as a backup and ensure Doxycycline is included for Vibrio infections.”