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Health and safety

UK seafarer heart health supported by maritime charity defibrillator project

22 May 2023

A project aimed at preventing heart-related fatalities among UK seafarers is being rolled out by The Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) with funding from the Department for Transport via the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB).

Having identified a growing prevalence of heart disease in coastal communities, the SHS has launched the Defibrillator Project, which will provide and install 20 Lifeline Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in ports and seafarer centres across the UK by the end of 2023 as part of its ongoing health outreach programme

This project builds on the success of a pilot project conducted by SHS and the National Health Service in 2022, and as a result of information gathered by SHS through its SeaFit Programme and regular work with the crew.

SHS CEO Sandra Welch said: 'We know that approximately 460 people die every day from heart and circulatory problems in the UK, and seafarers are increasingly among these numbers. Many of these deaths remain preventable, and our goal is to ensure that we minimise loss of life by providing life-saving equipment across ports and seafarer centres around the UK. '

An AED has already been installed by SHS at the Queen Victoria Seamen's Rest (QVSR) in London. QVSR CEO Alexander Campbell said with 170 residents and 50 staff and thousands of seafarers who visit on its Tilbury Seafarer Centre each year, it is 'reassuring to know that should there be a medical emergency we have a defibrillator on site..this important piece of equipment could save someone’s life.'

  • alongside installations of AEDs, SHS will also conduct a Zoom webinar on 7 June 2023 at 12:00 pm (UK time) with the goal of educating seafarers about cardiovascular diseases and the benefits of healthy living.
  • find other free resources for seafarer health and wellbeing on the SHS website


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