Seafarers sail the high seas around the globe. In case of illness, they are protected by international regulations stating that the employers must pay all expenses in relation to repatriation, but very little is known about the cost of these repatriations. The objective of this study was to estimate the financial burden of repatriations in case of illness. We applied a local approach, a micro-costing method, with an employer perspective using four case vignettes: I) Acute myocardial infarction (AMI), II) Malignant hypertension, III) Appendicitis and IV) Malaria. Direct cost data were derived from the Danish Maritime Authority while for indirect costs estimations were applied using the friction cost approach. The average total costs of repatriation varied for the four case vignettes; AMI (98,823 EUR), Malignant hypertension (47,597 EUR), Appendicitis (58,639 EUR) and Malaria (23,792 EUR) mainly due to large variations in the average direct costs which ranged between 9560 euro in the malaria case and 77,255 in the AMI case. Repatriating an ill seafarer is a costly operation and employers have a financial interest in promoting the health of seafarers by introducing or further strengthen cost-effective prevention programs and hereby reducing the number of repatriations.
Local level costing method Case vignette Health promotion Direct cost Indirect cost Repatriation