Coast Guard Busy Making Long Distance Medevacs of Ill Cruise Ship Patients

The U.S. Coast Guard has been busy rescuing ill people from cruise ships in the past few days.  Last week Coast Guard helicopters flew over 1,000 miles round trip to save lives.  

Last week started off with the Coast Guard medevacing a 40 year old male crew member from a Celebrity cruise ship approximately 290 miles off the eastern coast of the U.S.  That's a long way to go to rescue a sick person and then return!

The Celebrity Summit notified the Coast Guard, via VHF channel 16, that  one of its crew members was suffering from abdominal pain and was in need of medical attention.  The Coast Guard 5th District Coast Guard Medevac Jayhawk Helicopterduty flight surgeon consulted with the medical officer aboard the cruise ship and recommended a medevac.

Rescue air crews from Elizabeth City, North Carolina launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft.  With the Hercules crew providing radio and air cover, the Jayhawk hoisted the man and a ship's nurse aboard the helicopter and took them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Later in the week, A 72 year old female passenger was medevaced by a Coast Guard helicopter from the Carnival cruise ship Elation approximately 250 miles south of Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The passenger reportedly experienced kidney problems.

The Eighth Coast Guard District command center in New Orleans received a maritime satellite call from the Carnival Elation and launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.  The aircrew transported the sick passenger to Mobile, Alabama where she was treated at Providence Hospital. 

Who pays for these extraordinary services?  Me and you (if your a taxing paying U.S. citizen)  None of the cruise lines pay U.S. taxes on their $35,000,000,000 (billion) in revenue, so the expense of the Coast Guard to rescue people from the foreign flagged cruise ships is borne by all us in the U.S.   

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Jim DeGrazia - September 2, 2012 9:42 AM

The primary mission of the Coast Guard always has been, and remains, safety to life on the high seas. If a situation at sea presents a direct and imminent threat to life, you can count on the Coast Guard to respond.

If there is a matter of safety to life, including sinking, fire or medical emergency, the Coast Guard will respond immediately at taxpayers expense.

Congress needs to enact a "Vessel Assist Charge" for any foreign flagged ship requiring Coast Guard assistance.

Gabs - September 6, 2012 6:22 PM

@Jim DeGrazia I'd rather the pay taxes on their massive profit instead of charging them everytime they call the CG. That would probably just be an incentive to keep the patient onboard with some ibuprofene or something to save a few bucks, potentially causing more harm to the person.

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