In the early nineties some health professionals in Bergen, Norway regarded the absence of a health service for seafarers in the large seafaring nation Norway as being embarrassing.
They therefore started a lobbying activity for the establishment of a maritime medical centre, first in a small group, later in a committee with representatives from relevant institutions. After almost ten years of activity, a petition was sent to the Government resulting in a governmental proposition (St.prp.nr.1 2004-2005). On the basis of this proposition, the Ministry of Health and Care Services instructed The Western Norway Regional Health Authority “to take further the plans for a maritime medical centre” and agreed to the plan that the centre should be allocated to Bergen Health Trust/Haukeland University Hospital.
The mandate in the proposition:
The activity of the centre shall include the following activities
- Collect and disseminate knowledge on maritime medicine to ship owners, vessels, authorities and other users
- Initiate and perform research
- Register the incidence of diseases and accidents at sea
- Participate in the health education of seafarers
- Be a hub for international collaboration in the field
- Include Radio Medico as part of its responsibilities
The Bergen Health Trust decided to place the centre at Haukeland University Hospital under the Department of Occupational Medicine
In 2005 the government granted NOK 200 000 to establish the centre. The year 2005 passed as an interim period on a consultancy basis (Aksel Schreiner). However, in 2006 Haukeland university hospital decided to allocate resources enough to make the centre functional and to employ a director ( Alf Magne Horneland) and a research manager (Arne Johan Ulven). In August 2007 Eilif Dahl was employed as an adjoint professor financed by external funds. Tim Carter was appointed adjoint professor in October 2010. In May 2009 Leif Aanderud was employed in a part time position as responsible for courses and conferences. Aksel Schreiner, who earlier had worked on a consultancy basis, was employed in a part time position as an editor of the Textbook of Maritime Medicine and the NCMM homepage in February 2010. Vilhelm Kofoed has been adjoined to the centre as a special consultant since April 2008.