Charity donation pledged for every life saved through iVital™

This week in Brussels, policy-makers from EU institutions will meet and engage with European shipowners and other stakeholders from the shipping sector, focusing on the key issues currently facing European and Global shipping.

Now in its third year, European Shipping Week consists of a series of events in the Belgian capital, representing a great opportunity for those working within the shipping industry to raise views and concerns to key figures and legislators from the EU.

One important area of discussion this week will be health and safety within the shipping industry. At present, the Maritime Labour Convention sets out the “minimum” safety requirements that must be provided on board vessels and many of these are open to interpretation. Seafaring remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and European Shipping Week provides a platform to address this.

Whilst difficult to eliminate all dangers, it is possible to aid the protection of workers through education, training and investment in technology. As it stands, seven per cent of seafarers are evacuated from the vessel they are working on each year due to health concerns. There are, however, several factors that contribute towards this statistic and many of these can be tackled to improve it.

Clearly, some medical emergencies can’t be foreseen or prevented and a large amount of medical episodes at sea are accidents, 90% of which stem from human error. Therefore, it is possible to reduce the number of casualties through education, training and better working practice. Secondly, the diagnosis and treatment of stricken crew members can be improved. With most vessels lacking a medical doctor due to crew numbers being below the threshold for such a requirement, accurate diagnoses can prove difficult. Without these, a large number of ultimately manageable ailments lead to unnecessarily extreme measures including ship diversion and evacuation, which come at a significant financial cost. Estimates suggest that the cost of diverting a ship alone can amount to around $180,000 (about £147,500). Technological advances can limit these. For example, it is much easier to identify a cardiac arrest with the aid of a patient’s vital signs. Without this information, the vast majority of decision-makers would err on the side of caution and opt for a diversion or evacuation, even if ultimately unnecessary in reality.

Martek is therefore leading the call for safer shipping during this important week in the maritime calendar. Not only do we want to see fewer medical emergencies at sea, it is vital that vessels have the capability to provide the very best treatment to crew members when these instances do arise and this doesn’t have to come at a high price.

As a commitment to improving the provision of healthcare at sea, and to mark European Shipping Week, we have pledged to donate $1,000 to charity for every life saved through the use of our affordable telemedicine offering, iVital. Through the 24/7 accessibility of top quality technology, connecting live video and vital signs of patients directly to experienced consultants on shore, we believe that iVital can revolutionise maritime safety.

Developed with the assistance of leading experts, iVital was launched in January and offers shipowners the world’s first telemedicine service available without a large upfront capital investment.

If iVital can be a life-saver for you, please get in touch by emailing us at or by visiting