A short history of the Joint Action

The HEALTHY GATEWAYS joint action arose from joining together two consortiums (SHIPSAN and AIRSAN) established from the implementation of previously funded projects under the Health Programme.



The objective of the AIRSAN Project was to ensure an efficient, multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, coherent response at EU level to public health threats in air transport:

  • The AIRSAN website was created in order to make the achievements of the AIRSAN Project accessible.
  • An AIRSAN Network of national public health and civil aviation authorities, local public health authorities at location of airports, airport and airline management and medical services across EU Member States.
  • An AIRSAN Communication Platform linked to the AIRSAN Website was created to serve for information gathering and information exchange.
  • A review of  existing guidance documents in the area of control of public health threats in air transport was conducted, resulting in the AIRSAN Bibliography.
  • AIRSAN Guidance Documents on the control of public health threats in air transport were developed and tested.
  • An AIRSAN Training Tool was developed to support countries with the implementation of the AIRSAN Guidance Documents.

SHIPSAN (2 projects, 1 joint action)

Between 2006 and 2016, two projects (SHIPSAN and SHIPSAN TRAINET) and one Joint Action (SHIPSAN ACT) were implemented.

Website: SHIPSAN


eu-shipsanUnder the SHIPSAN project (2006-2008), a survey was conducted and demonstrated that many different authorities (up to five) were responsible for conducting hygiene inspections on passenger ships within the same country without always having clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Lack of communication, knowledge and training in relation to hygiene inspections from competent authorities was observed. The practices of hygiene inspections on board ships varied between European countries and many times and within the same country or even within the same port. Finally, difficulties were observed in Europe in the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) and issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates.

logoSHIPSANTRAINETSHIPSAN TRAINET (2008-2011) then developed and implemented a training programme, the European Manual for hygiene standards and communicable diseases surveillance on passenger ships and a communication network.


From February 2013 until October 2016, the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action addressed health issues in maritime transport.  The main results of the joint action included a Literature Review that identified 196 ship-associated infectious diseases outbreaks with >24,000 cases and 19 deaths (1990-2013), chemical and radiological events are also described and provide an indication of the potential hazards that exist. The SHIPSAN ACT Information System was used by EUMS to follow-up 41 events (gastroenteritis, varicella, legionellosis, measles, dengue, meningitis, tuberculosis) on 37 ships providing information on 2279 cases and record of 9971 IHR Ship Sanitation Certificates (data until May 2017). Training has been provided using e-learning (>400 trainees), webinars (>150 attendants), on-the-job training (104 port health officers from 43 ports in 16 EUMS and Turkey received on the job training during pilot and routine inspections conducted in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 against the European Manual for Health and Hygiene Standards developed by SHIPSAN) and training courses (341 officers and 106 seafarers). In addition, Q&A for Ebola viral disease, interim guidance on maritime transport and Zika virus disease, guidelines for the risk assessment of chemical/radiological events and a web-based occupational health tool have also been developed.