One in five ships diverts every year due to a medical problem onboard Each diversion costs an average of $180,000, according to UK tech firm Martek Marine, not to mention the increased insurance premiums. Paul Luen, ceo and founder of the UK company, says more than 20% of these diversions could be avoided every year if only telehealth systems were onboard vessels.
Luen’s company has just launched iVital, a pay monthly telehealth system designed specifically for the marine environment. iVital is a full-service system, allowing the early diagnosis of ailments using wireless technology and video calls. Access to senior UK-registered clinicians is available anytime, anywhere, and means vessels can make the most cost and time efficient call when it comes to diversions.
“Historically, healthcare in particular has been difficult to provide onboard services that are equivalent to that available onshore, as part of MLC 2006,” Luen explains, adding: “Things are changing though, as ship operators realise that caring for crew is a vital part of maintaining an efficient and budget-friendly operation.”
A savvy ship operator, Luen argues, will realise that caring for crew will enable them to run a more efficient operation at all times.
“When someone is ill, others have to fill in his duties,” he points out. “That impacts on efficiency, productivity, and overall increases costs. Reliable onboard healthcare that allows for quick diagnosis and guided treatment is the way forward.”
As well as iVital telehealth system, Martek’s two key new products are iCon and NanOx. iCon is a power line communications system, enabling smart ships: using existing cabling, wifi spots can be created anywhere on a vessel, and all manner of equipment from RFID container tracking to bulk ingress system monitors can be connected and operated from one central point.
NanOx is the world’s first ashless marine fuel treatment – a fuel additive that has no retrofit required.
“Reducing emissions is part of a ship operator’s responsibility, and upcoming emissions tax could now be easily avoided or reduced with the simple addition of NanOx,” Luen claims.