On the 6th October 2022, the Tristan RIB transferred a sick crew member from the bulk carrier Penelope I to Camogli Hospital. This follows a similar emergency on the 29th May involving the MV Duke.

Tristan Assists with Maritime Medical Emergencies

Report and photos by Jason Ivory

MV Penelope I

The disaster management team had to deploy earlier this week. The bulk carrier Penelope I put out an SOS on Monday 3rd October 2022 (as they had a sick crew member on board), with Tristan being the closest inhabited land - at that point she was still 800 miles away (three days sailing). She appeared offshore early Thursday morning (6th October) and the island's RIB was deployed with the doctor on board. The crew member was safely transferred from the vessel to the island hospital where he is now recovering. The Penelope I continued on her way (travelling from Brazil to Japan) having stopped for less than one hour - time is precious for commercial vessels. Every day brings a new challenge in this remote environment...

MV Penelope I off Tristan

MV Penelope I off Tristan

Island RIB with medevac RIB entering the harbour with medevac
Island RIB with medevac entering Calshot Harbour

The RIB approaches the  Penelope I

The bulk carrier dwarfs the RIB as she approaches to transfer the medevac

MV Duke

A similar incident occurred on the 29th May 2022, when the unladen MV Duke stopped at Tristan to transfer a sailor who had suffered a stroke. The Rescue RIB Atlantic Dawn attended the ship, supported by the Conservation RIB Arctic Tern. Rough seas, with waves up to 5 metres high, meant that multiple attempts were necessary, and at one point the Duke had to reposition a mile offshore. However, the patient was lowered successfully by stretcher to the Atlantic Dawn where he was cared for by a waiting doctor. Once in the harbour, the stretcher was lifted by crane to the island's ambulance. The operation took a total of two and a half hours. The patient was stabilised in the Camogli Healthcare Centre, and later repatriated via Cape Town on the island's cargo vessel MV Lance in June, accompanied by nurse Kumi Joubert.

Island RIBs picking up a medevac from the MV Duke in choppy seas. Video courtesy of Kelly Green