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Following its latest Merchant Marine Notice, Panama Maritime Authority highlights the risks and concerns of drug and alcohol abuse onboard.

To remind, the marine notice focuses on the risks related to fatigueHIV/AIDS, abuse of alcohol and drugs and other harmful substances.

According to the authority, alcohol may impair judgment and increase the risk of accidents. In the long term, alcohol abuse may lead to ill health and, in extreme cases, death.

The shipowners or operating companies should develop provisions on the detrimental effect on their health and well-being of the abuse of alcohol and drugs and other potentially harmful substances, and the risk and concerns relating HIV/AIDS and of other health risk related activities on board.

As explained, the maximum limit of alcohol concentration in the blood will be 0.05% (milligrams per decilitre) or 0.25% (micrograms per decilitre) of alcohol in the breath.

At the same time, drug abuse is a serious hazard to the crew members, other persons on board, and the security of the vessel. In light of the above, the shipowners or operating companies should ensure that:

  • adopt policies and procedures to prevent drug and alcohol abuse on ships
  • educate seafarers on the harmful effects and consequences of the unauthorized possession and abuse of drugs and of alcohol
  • provide guidance to seafarers on safe and sensible alcohol consumption
  • identify at an early stage seafarer who may be abusing drugs or have an alcohol related problem
  • eliminate the presence of unauthorized drugs on ships
  • provide confidential advice, support and assistance to any seafarers known to have drug- or alcohol-related problems
  • provide instructions to seafarers and the shore-based employees responsible for implementing the drug and alcohol policy