The Advanced Training School for on-board doctors has been established. Stefano Messina (President of Assarmatori): “An effective response to tackle the lack of this professional figure”

The Advanced Training School for on-board doctors has been presented at the Ministry of Health’s auditorium “Cosimo Piccinno” in Rome, with the first course that will start next October. Assarmatori pictured the project and then led it to its establishment alongside with l’Accademia della Marina Mercantile di Genova, l’Università del capoluogo ligure, l’Ordine di Malta, il Centro Internazionale Radio Medico (CIRM) e l’Ufficio di Sanità Marittima, Aerea e di Frontiera (USMAF). An initiative that promptly found the support of the Ministry of Health, in the figure of the Undersecretary of State Andrea Costa.

The training of the medical on-board crew is even more necessary today following the issues that emerged with the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which have imposed new rules, stringent protocols and the need for specialized personnel. In addition, shipowners have faced several issues in finding these professionals during the last summer seasons, with the risk of jeopardizing a constitutionally guaranteed principle such as that of territorial continuity.

Andrea Costa

“The Covid experience has highlighted, among other things, the key figure of on-board doctor, who in these two years has faced critical issues assisting hundreds of passengers – argues the Undersecretary of State for Health Andrea Costa. This type of training could represent a model that can be replicated by others. The Ministry of Health would play the role of backer by authorizing public structures, keeping the register of courses and issuing certificates, verifying the programs, etc”.

The aim of the course, which will start next autumn at the headquarters of the Mercantile Navy Academy in Arenzano (Villa Figoli – Genoa), is to provide advanced notions and information for the management of the critically ill in remote environments such as that of a ship. At the end, the participants – whose entry requirement is a Degree in Medicine and Surgery with priority for doctors specialized in Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine – will receive the necessary certifications to carry out the occupation at national and international level.

Stefano Messina

“The project – explains the president of Assarmatori, Stefano Messina – arises from the desire of us shipowners to give an effective response to a problem such as the lack of adequate availability of the professional figure of the on-board doctors which, especially in the summer period, involves significant critical issues that in the most serious cases risk interrupting the regular performance of activities, in particular of the ferries, putting at risk the continuity guaranteed by the maritime services. This initiative it really wants to be a first concrete answer and offer new stimulating job opportunities for Italian staff and professionals”.

Susy de Martini

“The profession of an on-board doctor is one of the most rewarding and demanding in the sector – argues Susy de Martini, consultant of Assarmatori and scientific coordinator of the course – as it takes place in an environment of exceptional beauty. In addition, it is challenging as the on-board doctor has to face any form of emergency alone and, therefore, must be technically and psychologically prepared to face them. I have worked for many years to achieve this goal, spurred on by numerous colleagues who have become friends and who will be teachers in this course alongside the talented managers of the Ministry of Health such as Dr. Angeloni.

Ulrico Angeloni


Paola Vidotto

The course, consisting of 8 hours per 12 days, is limited to a maximum number of 20 participants and is supported by the economic contribution of Grandi Navi Veloci, through which brilliant young Italians and European doctors will take the role of teachers.

“It is a pride for the Mercantile Navy Academy to participate in this initiative – concludes Paola Vidotto, Director of the Merchant Navy Academy. It is now crucial to have a technical training that ensure on-board doctors also for international merchant ships, characterized by the highest safety requirements. The course reaffirms the centrality of our institute on the national scene, and encourages us to promote increasingly advanced training courses for the development of this professional figures”.