NAESS Shipping / DOLE UK was declared not liable to pay US$ 66,000
medical expenses and disability benefits if there is no post employment
medical examination to establish work related illness during the
contract as a seafarer.
When is a shipping company not liable to pay medical expenses
and disability benefits to a seafarer?
The Supreme Court of the Philippines decided that a seafarer is not entitled to medical expenses and disability benefits if there is no post-employment medical examination to establish that the illness is work related during the duration of the contract. (Reference: Dizon vs. Naess Shipping / DOLE UK on 01 June 2016 (GR201834).
Andres Dizon was hired as a cook for 9 months in 2007. He disembarked after completing his contract, and took a vacation. After a month he was rehired and given another contract on 14 February 2007. After his pre-employment
medical examination, he was declared unfit for duty due to uncontrolled hypertension and coronary disease. Another medical test with the Seamen’s hospital however declared him fit for duty. In November 2008, he filed for a claim for medical benefits, stating that he acquired his illness while he was on ship duty due to working conditions characterised by stress, heavy workload and fatigue.
The shipping company argued that Dizon already finished his 9 month contract but was rejected for re-employment due to his being unfit for ship duty.
The labor arbiter decided in his favour, but the NLRC reversed the decision.
Dizon appealed but the Supreme Court ruled that based on the Standard Employment Contract (SEC) for seafarers, a post-employment medical examination is necessary to establish that an illness is work related, during the
duration of the work contract. The SEC requires post-employment medical
examination within 3 working days after disembarkation at the end of the work
Source: Supreme Court of the Philippines, Andres L. Dizon Vs. Naess Shipping Philippines, Inc. and DOLE UK (Ltd.), G.R. No. 201834. June 1, 2016
The full Supreme Court decision could be downloaded free