Defra clarifies issues raised by UK fishermen regarding new regulations on the economic link licence conditions due to take effect 1 April 2022 fishermen/women working on a UK fishing vessel will be required to have a certificate of medical fitness

Fishermen/women working on a UK fishing vessel will be required to have a certificate of medical fitness. Photo: Tony Fitzsimmons

By the end of November 2023, anyone working on a UK fishing vessel will be required to have a certificate of medical fitness.

Working on the water means you are further away from medical facilities and treatment so need to have a suitable level of health – one of the many reasons the medical certificate is required by international law.

For most fishermen the medical certificate you need is an ML5, a doctor-approved record that shows you are fit enough to work safely at sea.

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Julie Carlton, MCA Head of Seafarer Safety and Health, said:

“By getting an ML5 certificate, fishermen have the reassurance that they are medically fit enough to do their work, without causing a risk to themselves or others.

“In turn this reduces the risk of falling ill while at sea, and means our search and rescue assets can be sent to other incidents that couldn’t have been predicted.

“The work of fishermen is both physically and mentally demanding, so health needs to be put first. This law further accelerates our mission of protecting lives at sea.”

Download and print the application form for an ML5 certificate and book an appointment with your GP or a doctor who can conduct the ML5 medical examination.

In many cases, the doctor will be able to complete the report and issue an ML5 certificate there and then.

This will be valid for five years, or one year if you are aged over 65.

If you have a medical condition causing increased risk, you can be referred to an MCA medical assessor for further consideration.

For more information and to access a form visit Gov.uk

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