Boost to seafarers’ health as Boers Crew Services introduces new blood tests for crews before and during voyages


Leading crew specialists BCS Group – Boers Crew Services is introducing a brand new way of allowing seafarers to monitor their health while away at sea with the use of blood tests.

Dutch company Boers Crew Services will introduce the new Preventative Medical Examination initiative this month and will be offering the service to its clients initially in The Netherlands, before expanding to Belgium and Germany.

The company is bringing in the medical testing, which is due to launch on Monday, September 11, in a bid to boost the health of seafarers if they are out at sea with no access to medical professionals and may have fears over a new or ongoing health issue.

Boers says that 5% of people who carry out the preventative testing find out they have a serious life-threatening disease without knowing, so these tests can significantly improve their chances of catching a health issue early.

Crews can choose from one of four options to carry out the test. They can do the blood test themselves while out at sea; a medic can go onto the vessel and carry it out for them; they can alternatively do the test at a hotel while onshore, or a medic can carry out the test for them on land.

Peter Smit (pictured), Group CEO of BCS Group – Boers Crew services, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new service that will inevitably improve the physical health of seafarers while they are out at sea for long periods of time.

“There is a lot of focus on mental health and rightly so. But we cannot forget about the physical health too. A lot of crew members may feel anxious or worried about going away for long periods of time if they have an ongoing health issue that they are unable to keep an eye on.

“If they are diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency or high cholesterol for example, by giving them the opportunity to carry out regular blood tests while away, they can have peace of mind and keep an eye on their condition and access medical help sooner rather than later. “

Crew members using the blood tests can download an app where they will be able to see their results three days after sending the test off. The results will only be shared with their employer if the seafarer gives permission to do so. The testing programme has also been ISO 27001-approved.

Although shipping companies will be unaware of specific health conditions of individual crew members, the app can give provide an overall picture of how healthy their crew is.

Mr Smit added: “It is a win-win for both crews and shipping companies too as this will also save companies money in the long run as conditions will be picked up quicker, resulting in less sick leave for the seafarer. We are proud to be able to offer this service and we believe the option of carrying out your own blood tests while on the ship is not widely available, so we are delighted to be able to introduce this initiative.

Click here to see a video on the new testing initiative.