The U.S. Coast Guard has instituted a new rule that states a cruise ship must treat any sick passengers and crew while onboard, as such “sick” ships must stay at sea indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Posted on March 29th, the Marine Safety Information Bulletin says, in part:
…Although the coast Guard continues to prioritize the safety of life at sea and the safety of U.S. ports and waterways, the recent increase in medical consultations. ultimately resulting in medical evacuations, has placed, and is expected to increase, strains on local medical resources…
It must be considered that a potential evacuee has better access to comfortable surroundings and medical staff on board the foreign passenger vessel where care is already being provided. To ensure the safety of persons on board and mitigate the potential of overwhelming local medical resources, all vessels operating…with more than 50 persons on board should increase their medical capabilities, personnel and equipment in order to care for individuals…for an indefinitely period of time. This is necessary as shore-side medical facilities may reach full capacity and lose the ability to accept and effectively treat additional critically-ill patients.
The bulletin also suggests that foreign-flagged vessels should seek flag state support. That means ships registered in, for example, the Bahamas, should seek help from Bahamian hospitals. Except hospitals in the Bahamas are very small. Plus the Bahamas as a whole are still recovering from the damage done last year by Hurricane Dorian. So…I get it, but…yeah 🙁
Most of the dozens of cruise ships still at sea currently only have a crew. However, Carnival Corp., which owns 9 cruise lines including Princess Cruises, still has ships that are at sea with a total of over 4,000 passengers. At least 1 of those ships, Coral Princess, has multiple passengers who are suspected of having coronavirus.
The Coast Guard’s memo requires all ships in U.S. waters to report their numbers of sick and dead onboard each day. The Coast Guard can then decide if a transfer is absolutely necessary, but if it is, the responsibility for arranging on-shore transportation, hospital beds, etc., would be on the cruise line.
We recently told you about our friends, Karla and Jeff, who were stuck on a “healthy” cruise ship for 3 weeks before the port in San Diego agreed to allow them to disembark. The passengers on that ship, having been at sea since March 11, were all healthy and past the 2-week quarantine period for coronavirus. So their ship was deemed a “healthy” one. Lucky for them, huh? Otherwise, they could very well still be stuck at sea, as well.
#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary