In my article I was critical of the cruise industry's trend to build these jam-packed mega cruise ships of today - the 'floating condo" as some call them, which "seem to be out-of-proportionally tall, perched precariously on a hull which seems incapable of safely supporting a structure towering hundreds of feet into the air." Fours years ago, I said that these monster ships "look like condominiums ripped out of Collins Avenue on Miami Beach and placed on a barge. They look eager to tip over."
I am more convinced today of these observations after the Anthem of the Seas debacle this past week.
Commenting on the recent fiasco, the Old Salt blog stated that the cruise ship passed the test of encountering a major storm. It said that the cruise ship "survived" what it characterized as a "full-scale blowout trial in highly dangerous conditions." It pointed out that "no one died or was seriously injured" and "the ship made it into port under its own power."
The Old Salt blog scoffed at the notion that the Anthem of the Seas was "unsafe" and concluded that the gigantic cruise ship and others designed like it "are a lot more seaworthy than they look."
But the article was published before the Coast Guard announced that one of the vessel's two azipods malfunctioned during the storm and that the Anthem returned to port in New Jersey with only one propulsion unit operating. Late yesterday afternoon, the Coast Guard stated that "during the storm the port azipod, which is one component of the vessel's propulsion system, burned out all four clutches." Royal Caribbean, which initially denied any damage or injury to the ship or the passengers and then claimed that the only damage to the ship was cosmetic, was forced to try and quickly replace the clutches on the storm damaged azipod before the ship's scheduled departure today. The cruise line also decided the starboard azipod 's clutch also needed to be replaced "as a precaution," raising the possibility that it also sustained damage during the storm.
So putting differing opinions aside, the undisputed fact of the matter is that the Anthem of the Seas sustained significant damage to its propulsion system during the storm and returned to port unseaworthy.
The failure of portions of the cruise ship's propulsion system is very troubling It raises an issue which I discussed in my article four years ago: "ask yourself whether you really want to take your family onto one of these floating sky-scrapper hotels when, God forbid, it loses power while encountering rough seas?"
If the Anthem's propulsion was further disabled during the storm, the cruise ship would be in serious trouble.
“Major casualties are the result of synergy from multiple causes. If one bad thing happens, you probably get through it,” maritime law litigator and law professor Larry Brennan told the media. “If a ship loses propulsion in a storm, it’s at the mercy of the seas. Instead of cosmetic or structural damage, there’s a much better chance that a ship can be lost.”
Cruise passengers claim that the waves crashed over the top of the lifeboats tethered along the side of the Anthem of the Seas as the ship listed heeled heavily to one side. Even if passengers could have gotten into the lifeboats, this class of Royal Caribbean ships does not have enough lifeboats for both passengers and crew members. The ship is designed such that the crew are forced to use a system of sliding down chutes into life-rafts - a dangerous design even in pleasant weather. Panic may cause the crew members and the passengers to compete to get into the lifeboats which are far safer than the life-rafts. As I explained and illustrated in my article Titanic Redux, there is a danger of the tether ropes breaking, the chutes twisting, or the life-rafts ripping away from the chutes during the type of rough weather which the Anthem faced this week.
Of course a vessel can be unseaworthy not only when it is designed in an unsafe manner, or it is in state of disrepair, but when the vessel has unsafe procedures. The fact of the matter is that the Anthem of the Seas and other huge cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet do not have a safe means of evacuating passengers and crew members at sea, particularly in dangerous storm conditions.
But most passengers don't seem to be aware of this dangerous practice. The Anthem is claimed to be a technological marvel with all types of bells and whistles to wow the passengers: from being served by a robotic waiter to simulated surfing on the FlowRider to simulated sky diving on the iFly to riding on the North Star. But it has no way to evacuate people safely if disaster strikes, which almost happened last week.
All issues considered, I would say that the Anthem of the Seas is far more unseaworthy than it looks.
The Coast Guard stated that it medevaced a 25-year-old man and 60-year-old woman at around 5:45 a.m. from the Carnival Splendor after the cruise ship being reported them ill and in need of emergency medical attention. Earlier, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 Hercules were dispatched.
The Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the two passengers from the ship and up and flew them to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System reports that a San Diego-based Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter evacuated an ill woman from a Carnival cruise ship yesterday.
The Carnival Imagination was approximately 30 miles off the coast of Point Loma, California on May 7, 2014 when it contacted the Coast Guard and requested a medevac for a 41-year-old American woman, believed to be a passenger. She was experiencing abdominal pain.
Video (no audio) credit to U.S. Coast Guard video.
According to the Defense Video & Imagery Service, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 56-year-passenger today from a cruise ship.
The Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas notified the Coast Guard at approximately 10 PM last night that the woman was is medical distress. The cruise ship was approximately 300 miles east of Orlando, Florida. At approximately 3:30 AM this morning, a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft and an MH-60 Jayhawk took off by Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
The helicopter arrived at the cruise ship at 6:20 AM. and transported the woman to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.
When the executives at Royal Caribbean trotted out the Oasis of the Seas several years ago, they took special efforts to tout that the evacuation and life saving systems on this huge ship were the best in the world. After all, this was the largest, most technologically advanced, and most expensive cruise ship in the world.
Royal Caribbean produced carefully crafted videos showing that its "revolutionary" huge state-of-the-art 370 person capacity life boats would safely rescue the passengers if anything wrong happened on the high seas requiring an evacuation.
You can see the video below with William Wright, who captained the Oasis from Europe to Fort Lauderdale, promoting the life boats as marvels of the sea. The video says that the new life boats have double redundancy: double engines, double propellers, and double rudders, in addition to well-lighted and spacious boats, which according to Royal Caribbean would ensure that the 16 crew members assigned to each life boat could comfortably ferry the 354 passengers to safety.
You could almost hear the thoughts of the cruise executives: we have to assure our customers that this money-making-beast-of-a-ship can safely evacuate 8,500 passengers and crew who are jam-packed together in this highly compressed space. As a result, the public was presented with the nonsensical "holistic" message from CEO Goldstein and the slick video production starring captain Wright (since unceremoniously fired from the company) stating that the passengers are even safer in the life boats!
Many maritime experts believe that the size of the new huge cruise ships make it harder to evacuate quickly and safely. Cruise lines are required to evacuate all passengers and crew in just 30 minutes, which seems like a tall order considering that there could be as many as 8,500 passengers and crew aboard these ships. But CEO Richard Fain promoted his giant ships by claiming that evacuation is in fact faster on larger ships because "they have more entrances and exits." He went as far as to claim that passengers are actually safer in gigantic cruise ships.
But what Royal Caribbean was not telling the public was that the life boats were severely limited in number and were only for the passengers. Crew members have to jump down a 60' chute into a flimsy life raft - not a life boat.
Take a look at the bottom video which shows a Royal Caribbean crew member who gets stuck in the chute and then flies out and lands violently on his back. We've also written about an incident where 20 crew members were injured in a drill using a similar chute and raft system.
Recently, the issue arose whether there are an adequate number of lifeboats on the Allure and the Oasis, afterthe Allure left one of its lifeboats behind in Nassau because of a problem with a cable.
There are only 18 lifeboats to begin with on these ships. Each life boat has a capacity of 370 people, cpnsisting of 354 passengers and 16 crew members who are responsible for overseeing the passengers and maneuvering the life boat. With only 17 life boats, there is room for only 6,018 passengers; whereas, the Allure has a capacity of 6,296.
The passengers who are not permitted into a life boat will be forced to use something Royal Caribbean and its executives never touted as either revolutionary or "holistic" - the dangerous chute and raft system used by crew members.
When we broke this story, there was a blow back by the cruise line and many crew members. Royal Caribbean claimed that "we had enough safety crafts for everyone onboard the ship . . . Our ships carry extra lifesaving vessels at all times." Unfortunately, the cruise line use of the words life "crafts" and "vessels" did not distinguish whether it has enough newly designed life "boats" for the passengers versus the dangerous old-school life "rafts" used by the crew.
"Stop nitpicking and creating a controversy!" seemed to be the sentiment by the cruise line and most crew members. These supporters of Royal Caribbean pointed out that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires the ship to have 25% extra life craft capacity for the maximum capacity of the passengers and crew and there's no evidence that the Allure was in violation of that when it sailed.
My response is that the IMO requirements are a minimum. More importantly, what about the executives' promises of the revolutionary and holistic approach to saving human souls? Are grandmothers and children and mothers with babies going to have to jump into the chutes into a lifeboat from deck four, commando style?
It seems so, and the cruise executives know it. Take a look at the evacuation procedure diagrams on the Oasis. The schematics of the chute system depict passengers with children and mothers clinging onto their infants descending the chutes. These images are directly from Royal Caribbean's cruise ships.
The last comment posted to my article said:
"Stop nitpicking, whether it's a craft, raft, or boat as long as there is something in case of an emergency i don't think most people would care. These rafts are the same one the US Navy uses, if it's safe for our troops it's safe for me."
When people leave comments on my blog like this, they automatically leave their internet provider (IP) address. The IP address of this person indicated that the person sent the message from Royal Caribbean in Miami. Whether this macho man was a frustrated low level employee or someone in the operations or safety departments, I'll never know. But someone over at the cruise line thinks that it's okay (and a darn patriotic thing to do!) for passengers to jump down a 60 foot chute acting like Rambo.
I doubt that 75 year old grandmothers or little grand kids realize that they are signing up for this tour of duty when they embark on a luxury cruise of the Caribbean aboard the Allure or the Oasis.
Perhaps the cruise line is right that it is in technical compliance with the minimal IMO requirements. But the cruise line should be transparent with its guests. It should tell its passengers that instead of a "holistic" rescue in "revolutionary" life boats, they should be prepared to act like a Navy Seal jumping into a raft in a combat zone.
This weekend, the New York Times published an article about the "supersize craze" - the increasingly large cruise ships being built by the major cruise lines which are "worrying safety experts, lawmakers and regulators."
The article quotes my hero- Jim Hall, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS): “Cruise ships operate in a void from the standpoint of oversight and enforcement. The industry has been very fortunate until now."
The article discusses the capsizing of the Costa Concordia and the fires aboard the Carnival Triumph & Splendor and the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas, and concludes that larger cruise ships pose larger problems when things go wrong.
The article also quotes Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio, who testified at a Senate hearing in July which I attended. He said that the recent cruise ship fires “highlight serious questions about the design, maintenance and operation of fire safety equipment on board these vessels, as well as their companies’ safety management cultures.”
The New York Times addressed the potential problems of evacuating Royal Caribbean two mega-ships, the Allure and the Oasis. There are not enough life boats for the crew. The 2,300 crew members on each of these cruise ships will have to jump down 60 foot evacuation chutes into life rafts.
Captain William H. Doherty, a former captain at Norwegian Cruise Lines, explained the problem in simple terms to the New York Times: “The simple problem is they are building them too big and putting too many people aboard.”
Cruise ships like Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas have different emergency evacuation systems for the passengers and the crew. Passengers are loaded onto lifeboats at their muster stations on the port and starboard sides of the ship and then lowered into the water. The lifeboat is motored away from the burning or sinking ship by a crew member.
Crew members, on the other hand, are required to use life-rafts which are jettisoned into the sea from large canisters primarily located at the stern of the ship.
You can see right canisters in the image above and sixteen canisters located at the stern of the Grandeur in the video below (credit: solandtravel / YouTube) which was sent to my attention this morning by cruise expert Professor Ross Klein.
These canisters, and the evacuation chutes and life-rafts therein, appear to have been destroyed or partially burned during in the two hour fire early Monday morning (see photo below right, via WTSP.com). It is my understanding that the life-rafts have a capacity of around 25 persons each. So assuming these 16 canisters were all that were destroyed in the fire, life-rafts for around 400 crew members - about 50% of the crew - may have been burned up.
There are some "extra" canisters on the cruise ship, but not nearly enough to accommodate all of the crew.
If the fire on the Grandeur had not been extinguished, the passengers would have been safely evacuated in the lifeboats which had already been lowered to deck level and were awaiting loading upon order of the ship's Master. But a few hundred crew members may have found themselves faced with jumping into the water.
Considering that a nearby Carnival cruise ship was on standby, and Coast Guard vessels were enroute, the crew members without a life-raft may have been transferred to other vessels in this particular case. But a fire like this which is not contained, and which occurs further at sea and in rougher weather, may pose serious consequences to the crew's safety.
This time Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans medevacs a 46-year-old man from the Carnival Conquest cruise ship approximately 60 miles south of Southwest Pass, of Louisiana on February, 16, 2013. The cruise passenger was reportedly suffering from symptoms associated with a brain hemorrhage.
Click on the "Rescue" category to the left and you can watch a large number of medical evacuations performed by our U.S. Coast Guard of ill and injured cruise passengers and crew members each year.
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station New Orleans.
A retired U.S. Coast Guard official called me last week about issues of cruise ship safety. We had an interesting hour and one-half discussion about whether modern cruise ships are designed to safely evacuate passengers and crew members in times of emergencies like fires or sinkings.
Our conversation began with Royal Caribbean's biggest cruise ships in the world, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean touts these news ships as technological marvels of the world. But the evacuation procedures are strictly old-school.
Some aspects of the emergency abandon ship systems are flat-out dangerous.
The cruise line's press releases mentions that the cruise ship has 18 lifeboats each with a 370 passenger capacity. It says that "lifeboats on Oasis of the Seas have been entirely redesigned and approved as part of a holistic evacuation concept."
But the truth of the matter is that Royal Caribbean had a major problem when it designed the largest cruise ships on the planet. There is a regulation stating that the maximum number of people permitted aboard a lifeboat is 150. There is no way that the cruise line could build a ship with over 55 lifeboats carrying 150 people each. So in order to cram enough people into lifeboats, the cruise line obtained a waiver to increase the maximum lifeboat capacity up to 370 people.
Royal Caribbean not only has the largest cruise ships in the world, but it has the largest lifeboats in the world.
But does it have enough?
18 lifeboats with a capacity of 370 equals only 6,660 people. Oasis has a total maximum population of around 8,500 when you count its capacity of around 6,300 passengers and 2,200 crew members. That means that there are around 1,850 people without the lifeboats which Royal Caribbean raves about.
Royal Caribbean's press statement makes no mention of it, but those who are not assigned or cannot fit into the limited number of lifeboats must use "emergency evacuation chutes." The term used on the Royal Caribbean ships is "Viking Dual Evacuation Chute." What is this you may ask? You won't find Royal Caribbean talking much about the chute system.
If you look at photographs of the Oasis (or the Allure), along the side of the ship at deck 4 you will see three large lifeboats in-a-line leading from the stern. Then you will see a row of canisters (others may call then cylinders), looking like old depth charges, positioned one on top of the other on deck 4.
When these canisters are opened (see video bottom), a life-raft inflates in the water below. (We are talking about life-rafts - not lifeboats). These life-rafts are connected to a series of chutes running up to deck 4. The passengers and/or crew evacuate the cruise ships by jumping into the entrance to this emergency evacuation apparatus on deck 4. They then rapidly slide / fall down a steep, vertical drop into the inflated life-raft below.
These type of devices are dangerous. There have been a significant number of people killed or seriously injured while trying to evacuate 4 or 5 stories down steep chutes like this.
In November, I wrote an article about 20 crew members seriously injured in a drill using this type of system who suffered broken bones, sprained ankles, and friction burns during the steep descent. Further injuries were avoided only when other crew members refused to jump. A union representative characterized the evacuation system as "unsuitable and dangerous."
PBS aired a documentary on behalf of "Inside Nova" which looked at the Oasis of the Seas' evacuation procedures. PBS videotaped the operation of the chutes. In the video below you can see crew members tugging on the chute when suddenly a crew member comes flying out - landing violently on his buttocks. After catching his breath, he exclaims "I got stuck!"
Now the first reaction to the video may be that it seems funny. But if you think about it for a second, it is actually terrifying. The placard on the cruise ship shows families with little kids and infants who are lining up to jump. The drawing on the ship actually show a mother clinging to her infant sailing down the chute a few feet above another passenger while a large man is jumping into the chute above her. I cannot imagine a more dangerous scenario.
Can you imagine what would happen if a 235 lb man lands on a 130 lb woman holding on to her 25 lb infant at the bottom of the chute? Serious injury would occur. Serious head injuries are likely if multiple people and children are in the chute at the same time. Far fetched? Hardly. This scenario is actually depicted in the instructional drawings on the Oasis itself.
Royal Caribbean may say that only crew members are suppose to use this system. That's mentioned on the PBS video where you can see photographs of the chute system. That does not say much for the cruise line's consideration of the safety of its own crew.
But why do the drawings of the chute system depict passengers with children and mothers clinging onto their infants descending the chutes? These images are directly from Royal Caribbean's cruise ships. And if in fact only crew members are assigned to the chutes, why should they be subject to such dangers on a cruise ship which its owners tout as the safest ship in the world?
The other issue to consider, of course, is what happens if the Oasis suffers a Costa Concordia type of accident where the cruise ship lifts heavily to one side? As we know from the Concordia, the lifeboats could not be deployed once the ship listed to 22 degrees. Half of the Concordia lifeboats, on the port side of the vessel, were useless once the ship listed to the starboard side. If anything like this happens on the Oasis, there will be a riot where passengers and crew fight to get into the remaining lifeboats and the rest will be left to take their chances jumping down the chutes hoping to land in a raft many stories below.
Then there are the wind and sea conditions. All of the drills for the Oasis or Allure take place on sunny days in the calm waters of the Caribbean. Take a look here for an example. Around and around the lifeboats drive in the protected waters of a beautiful lagoon in the Caribbean. What fun.
But what happens when these ships are re-positioned to Europe, Indonesia or Australia where there are high seas and unpredictable weather? After all, Royal Caribbean is ordering more Oasis class monster ships right now. Trying to evacuate thousands of people down chutes into life-rafts in high waves and winds could be a disaster. There is also the risk of the tether ropes breaking, the chutes twisting, or the life-rafts ripping away from the chutes.
I for one would hate to think of anyone's spouse, or kids, or parents, whether they are crew or passengers, having to jump into an evacuation chute and fall 50 feet into a raft in rough seas.
A chute and a raft are hardly a "holistic" approach to survival. It's a disappointing and antiquated way of trying to save lives on the supposedly most sophisticated cruise ship in the world.
Don't forget to watch the video of the chute system below:
A newspaper in Italy has posted a video of the frantic last moments of the evacuation of the stricken Costa Concordia.
The video obtained by La Repubblica is taken by a bystander from the island of Giglio. The cruise ship has already listed heavily to the starboard side and the water has risen to the deck where passengers and crew members are seen. I first watched the video today on Worldcrunch which describes the video as containing audio of the "panicked voices and the crashing sound of dishes."
The U.S. Coast Guard reports that it medevaced a 50 year old passenger from the Carnival cruise ship Paradise approximately 30 miles west of Venice, Florida last night.
The Coast Guard station in St. Petersburg Florida received a request at 10:30 p.m., from the Carnival Paradise for a medical evacuation of a man who was suffering from a suspected cardiac attack. Crew members aboard the cruise ship were able to resuscitate the passenger and return him to stable condition but wanted him to be taken to the hospital.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., launched to the scene. Once on scene at 11:42 p.m., the helicopter crew was able to safely hoist the man, his wife and a nurse and transport them to Bradenton Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida.
The U.S. Coast Guard website reports that it medically evacuated a 41-year-old woman from the Carnival Glory cruise ship today. The passenger reportedly exhibited stroke-like symptoms.
The cruise ship was approximately 55 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts at the time of the emergency.
Coast Guard Sector Boston received the word from the Carnival cruise ship at approximately 3:35 p.m. In response, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the scene. The helicopter hoisted the ill woman up to safety and then transported her to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.
The Coast Guard website quotes a John Tomaszewski , a search and rescue coordinator at Sector Boston, "our crews launched swiftly . . . they were able to hoist her and get her the care she needed.
The Coast Guard did not comment on the passenger's medical condition.
The last medevac from the Carnival Glory occurred, according to our records, in May 2010 when the Coast Guard in Miami rescued that a 36 year-old pregnant woman who needed emergency medical treatment.
The Coast Guard reports that it medically evacuated a 56 year passenger from the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship sixty miles southeast of Jacksonville on Today.
Crew members on board the cruise ship notified the Coast Guard just after 8 AM that a male passenger was experiencing respiratory failure and needed medical attention.
Coast Guard Air Station Savannah launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter rescue crew to the scene.
The helicopter arrived at the location of the Fantasy around 10 AM. The crew lifted the passenger from the deck, along with his wife and a cruise ship nurse, and transport them to a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. The passenger is reportedly in stable condition.
The United States Coast Guard has been busy rescuing ill passengers from cruise ships over the past week.
Today a newspaper in North Carolina reports that a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced a 49 year old woman from the Carnival Pride cruise ship. The ship was near Virginia at the time of the emergency medical evacuation. The medical condition of the passenger was not disclosed.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, launched to assist, hoisted the woman and ship’s nurse and took them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk.
Yesterday, the Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from Belle Chase (near New Orleans) into the Gulf of Mexico to rescue a man aboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas cruise ship. According to a newspaper in New Orleans, a MH-65C helicopter flew 132 miles into the Gulf to medevac the passenger who was experiencing stroke-like symptoms. The Coast Guard then transferred the passenger to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans.
Last week, the Coast Guard medevaced a man from the Crown Princess, operated by Princess Cruises. I don't have any information about this medevac. Does anyone have any information about this event or the other two medevacs?
A video of the Crown Princess rescue (credit tigertran01/youtube) is below.
Yesterday a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter medevaced a 47 year old woman female off a cruise ship. The cruise ship was approximately 115 miles northeast of Cape Henry.
The captain of the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard at around 5 PM, reporting they had a passenger with severe abdominal pains who needed medical attention ashore.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. were dispatched to the scene. The helicopter crew hoisted the woman and her husband off the cruise ship at approximately 7 PM.
The couple were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Costa Cruise Lines' Costa Concordia cruise ship has evacuated most of its passengers after a disastrous situation this evening near the island of Giglio in southern Tuscany, Italy.
Media reports suggest that the cruise ship ran aground or struck a reef after departing from its regular course.
The grounding ruptured the hull and water entered the vessel, leading to the forced evacuation of many of the 4,231 passengers and crew from the stricken cruise ship into lifeboats. There are reports that passengers jumped into the water during the chaotic circumstances following the grounding.
The official statements from the cruise line are factually vague. There is no explanation regarding the cause of the grounding. The cruise line proclaims that the passengers are "not at risk," but this is probably the usual misleading and false cruise propaganda. Some media sources are reporting that there are passengers who are dead. Media sources are reporting around 3 passegers died and up to 50 are missing.
The Italian cruise ship carrying 3,200 passengers and approximately one thousand crewmembers. The Costa Concordia had departed for a Mediterranean cruise includio ports in Civitavecchia, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona.
News sources are quoting a passenger describing the mishap similar to the Titanic disaster, "with a scramble among the evacuees, screaming and crying."
January 14, 2012 Update:
Costa issued a statement that the cruise ship struck a "rock." Other news sources are reporting that the captain was arrested for manslaugter and abandoning the ship.
A 73 tear old passenger from the Carnival Triumph received a ride of a lifetime when an U.S. Coast Guard helicopter plucked him from the deck of the cruise ship and flew him to Galveston for emergency medical treatment.
The Carnival cruise ship was around 120 miles off the coast of Galveston when the Coast Guard performed the medical evacuations early Friday yesterday morning.
Carnival notified the Coast Guard around 10 PM Thursday night that the cruise passenger had a blood clot in his foot and needed immediate medical treatment. An MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter was dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station Houston around 11:40 PM> As you can see from the Coast Guard video below, they helicopter crew successfully lifted the passengers from the Triumph cruise ship. He was flown to the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston.
We have reported on around a dozen Coast Guard - cruise ship medevacs this year.
Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard via Houston Chronicle
The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill passenger from the Queen May 2 cruise ship off of the coast of North Carolina.
The video below shows the the skilled crew of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter lifting a 64 year old woman from the deck of the QM2 cruise ship. The passenger was suffering from severe abdominal pains. The cruise ship was sailing 110 miles off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina on December 20, 2011. The Coast Guard flew the ill woman to a hospital in Norfolk Virginia.
A number of news sources are reporting that yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ill cruise passengerman from a cruise ship to a North Carolina hospital for treatment.
The ship doctor on the Norwegian Cruise ine's Gem cruise ship notified the Coast Guard that a 38-year-old man was going into shock. The cruise ship was reportedly about 75 miles east of Wilmington at the time.
A helicopter from the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City North Carolina then flew the man from the cruise ship to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.
The Coast Guard says the man was in stable condition. His name was not released.
Last night, the U.S. Coast Guard performed a medical evacuation of a 75-year-old passenger who became sick while cruising on the Holland America cruise ship, Oosterdam, about 180 miles southwest of San Diego.
A HC-130 Hercules aircraft from the Coast Guard station in Sacramento located the HAL ship ship. A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter dispatched from the Coast Guard's San Diego station then medevaced the passenger to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
The medevac came just 2 days after the Coast Guard assisted the disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor into San Diego.
In October, the Coast Guard conducted essentially an identical rescue. A 74-year-old passenger with pancreatis was rescued from HAL's Oosterdam 36 miles from San Diego and sent via helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital.
The U.S. Coast Guard spends millions of dollars a year assisting passengers who are sick or injured on foreign flagged cruise ships.
Cruise Law News is a big fan of the United States Coast Guard which came to the rescue of a 79-year-old passenger aboard the Carnival cruise ship Spirit yesterday.
According to 10News.com, the Carnival cruise ship was about 570 miles south of San Diego when the vessel notified the USCG that a passenger was experiencing health problems. At around 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, a 41-foot-long Coast Guard utility boat met the cruise ship at the entrance to San Diego Bay. The sick passenger and a member of the cruise ship's medical staff were taken by the Coast Guard to the San Diego Harbor Police dock. The patient was then taken by ambulance to Scripps Mercy Hospital. The nature of the passenger's medical problem and her current condition were not discussed.
For other articles on Coast Guard medevacs, consider reading:
Heart attacks on cruise ships are one of the leading causes of passenger deaths. The U.S. and the Canadian Coast Guards do a remarkable job rescuing passengers from cruise ships, far distances from the mainland.
The video below show the rescue by the Canadian Coast Guard of a 78 year old passenger who suffered a heart attack and was in critical conditions. The cruise ship, the Sea Princess, was 100 miles from Vancouver Island.
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