Requirement for Vessels in Marshall Islands: Mandatory Medicine Chest Onboard

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The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has released a medical care guide outlining the requirements for medical care and recordkeeping onboard ships. The guide emphasizes that all vessels must have a medicine chest and provides guidance on the types of medicines and medical supplies that should be stocked. The International Medical Guide for Ships, published by the World Health Organization, offers further information on maintaining the appropriate inventory of medicines and equipment based on the vessel’s route, operation, and number of people onboard.

In addition to the medicine chest, ships larger than 500 gross tons must provide first aid kits for their engine room and galley. Vessels carrying 100 or more people on international voyages lasting more than three days are required to have a qualified medical doctor responsible for providing medical care. However, for mobile offshore drilling units and mobile offshore units within helicopter range to shore medical services, a qualified medic or nurse may fulfill this requirement.

Ships carrying dangerous cargoes must also comply with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and the latest edition of the Medical First Aid Guide for Use in Accidents Involving Dangerous Goods (MFAG). If a dangerous cargo is not included in the MFAG, the necessary information on the substances, risks, protective devices, medical procedures, and antidotes should be made available to seafarers through the ship’s occupational safety and health policies.

Passenger ships, even those on short cruises, are at risk of medical emergencies. To address this, an Emergency Medical Kit should be carried on board, particularly on ro-ro passenger ships that do not typically have a medical doctor present.

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