Ferries traveling long-distance routes will have a doctor on duty as of today as the government moves to upgrade the sector and make sea travel safer. Trips that cover a distance of more than 120 nautical miles will have their own medical expert to help handle emergency situations. According to data, the most common health issues that arise among travelers at sea relate to accidents, heart conditions, strokes and even childbirth. «With this initiative, we are meeting a request from citizens, particularly from island residents, for increased safety during the trip,» Deputy Health Minister Thanassis Yiannopoulos told Kathimerini. In a joint decision signed by the Merchant Marine and Health ministries, a total of 23 doctors will be assigned to sea duty that will be swapped over every year. Ferry companies are each obligated to provide a cabin area per vessel where patients can be treated.