Florida: Crew members with COVID-19 symptoms medevaced from two Royal Caribbean ships
Three crew members displaying coronavirus symptoms were medevaced from two Royal Caribbean cruise vessels along the coast of Florida last weekend.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) said it coordinated the at-sea cruise ship medevacs within the Miami and St. Petersburg areas of responsibility on April 4 and 5.
Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders oversaw the medevac of one Celebrity Infinity crew member with COVID-19 like symptoms. The 2000-built ship is operated by Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
As informed, the cruise ship’s small boat tender transported the ill member ashore to awaiting emergency medical services (EMS) for further transport to local area hospitals. The watchstanders directed the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew who escorted the tender ashore.
In addition, Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders oversaw the medevac of two Oasis of the Seas crew members suspected to be infected with COVID-19. The Oasis-class vessel is owned by Royal Caribbean International.
Oasis of the Seas’ small boat tender transported the ill seafarers ashore to awaiting EMS for further transport to local area hospitals. The watchstanders also directed the launch of a RB—M crew who escorted the tender ashore.
A Coast Guard 7th District flight surgeon was consulted, who assessed the symptoms of each person, and carefully considered the medical necessity for these medevacs.
“The Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with the Florida Department of Health, along with hospitals and EMS in Miami and St. Petersburg areas, facilitated the safe landing of these crew members in a manner to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the USCG said.
There are currently more than 35 cruise ships with 35,000 crew members aboard in US territorial waters around Florida.
What is more, a total of 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, are currently in or near US ports and waters.
“The entire DHS team is working together to ensure no seafarer will be left untreated during this emergency to the best of our collective ability, however, proactive measures are critical to ensuring our limited search and rescue resources and already stressed shore-side medical services do not get over-burdened,” Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, commander of the 7th District, explained.
“This emergency situation requires cruise ships to take additional measures to be reasonably self-sufficient in these emergency circumstances through improved on board medical care and protocols and pre-approved medical transport procedures.”
The Coast Guard 7th District also oversaw two other medevacs this weekend, one unrelated COVID-19 emergency from an anchored cruise ship near Miami and one from a pleasure craft vessel near Cape Canaveral.