The US Coast Guard (USCG) has said that the Captain of the M/V Maersk Batam container ship was medically evacuated after suffering symptoms consistent with a stroke.
According to a statement, the evacuation took place on the evening of 23 March when the vessel was 100 nautical miles off the coast of Puerto Rico and on its way to its next port of call in Southampton, UK.
The signal was received by Coast Guard Sector San Juan which launched a Coast Guard MH-65D helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen to conduct the evacuation.
As part of its efforts it diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC-910) to shorten the distance with the M/V Maersk Batam and serve as an emergency platform for the rescue helicopter if required.
Once on scene, the helicopter deployed the aircraft rescue swimmer to M/V Maersk Batam to assess the patient’s condition. The aircrew used a rescue litter to hoist the ship’s captain aboard the aircraft.
Following the hoist, the patient was transported the Cyril E. King airport in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, where he was received by awaiting emergency medical services personnel and taken to the island’s Royal Lester Schneider Regional Hospital.
“Last night I was really proud of our service, there were multiple units thinking creatively, willing to go the extra mile to get a fellow mariner to the appropriate medical care,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Whitesel, Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin aircraft commander for the evacuation.
“The crew was amazing, each member performed exceptionally well during a challenging case, traversing over 200 miles, through scattered rain showers with virtually no illumination to safely deliver the person to the nearest available hospital.”