20th October, 2021
Bay of Cascais
Never a dull moment. Generally sea days are nice, easy going and relaxing. Not always. The day started pleasantly. By 10 o’clock, the visibility had reduced. Shortly after 11 o’clock my phone rang.
When you see an incoming call from the Doctor you pretty much know how your day might continue – a medical emergency requiring evacuation. Medivacs are on most occasions conducted via helicopter, but not if visibility is poor. We contacted Lisbon MRCC as we were some 20 NM west from Lisbon. We pretty much knew, from experience, what options we would have considering the reduced visibility. Helicopter was not an option. One of our options was to proceed to Leixoes, but the distance wasn’t favourable as it would take us 6 hours of steaming on full speed to reach it. Our second option was much faster and more practical. Turn to starboard and go back on the South Easterly course for 20 NM towards Lisbon, and rendezvous with a transfer boat in the Bay of Cascais. I made the announcement to all guests advising them of our plan.
Just before 14:30 we were in rendezvous position. We stopped the ship, turned to North West in order to minimise the swell and make conditions safe for the transfer. While Staff Captain Matt and I were on the Bridge, Safety Officer Richard was in charge of the tender platform and the transfer operation.
The transfer boat arrived, but much to the dismay of our Doctor, they arrived without a medic on board, despite knowing of our medical emergency. She wasn’t comfortable landing our patient without a medic on board. As we were close to the harbour and the boat ride was only 10 minutes long, I suggested that we send one of our nurses ashore and once our patient is in safe hands ashore, the transfer boat would return our nurse to us.
By 15:15 our nurse was back on board, tender platform was secured, and we turned west and proceeded back to open sea with full speed ahead, with high hopes we will make Vigo on time.
Captain Franko Papić
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