The United States Coast Guard (USCG) medevaced a crew member from the Serenade of the Seas yesterday, eighty miles west of Tampa. The USCG deployed a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.

In January of this year, we reported that Royal Caribbean began using the Serenade of the Seas as a floating “quarantine or hospital ship” to house crew members infected with COVID-19. The company was also using a number of other cruise ships, including the Vision of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas as floating hospitals / quarantine hotels for its infected crew members. A crew member on the Serenade who operates The Curious Lens of Martina from Argentina explained via video that the cruise ship would be used by the company to assist the Royal Caribbean fleet in accepting the transfer of COVID-19 positive crew members from other cruise ships sailing Western Caribbean itineraries so that they can continue to call on Caribbean ports (which have reporting requirements that block ships from calling when their total population of guests and crew members exceeds 1%).

There is no public information regarding the medical status of this particular crew member or the reason for the emergency medical evacuation. It is less than clear whether this crew member was medevaced for emergency medical treatment related to COVID-19.

Medical evacuation of crew members or guests on cruise ships is provided by the USCG without cost or expense to the cruise guests, crew members or the cruise lines themselves. It is one of the many expenses incurred by U.S. federal agencies which are paid by U.S. taxpayers.

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Image credits: Screengrab and video – U.S. Coast Guard via the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS); Serenade of the Seas – Matt H. Wade, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikipedia.