MARIGOT–SNSM sea rescue lifeboats from St. Martin and St. Barths collaborated on a medical evacuation of crew from a large oil tanker moored offshore in Simpson Bay in the early morning hours of Monday.
The call came in from surveillance centre CROSS-AG at 4:00am. The tanker crew were reportedly suffering from some kind of poisoning.
Four volunteer crew members gathered at the SNSM station in Marigot to pick up equipment, then went aboard the inflatable Rescue Star to prepare for the departure until the arrival of the medical team – a doctor and two nurses.
At the same time, the CROSS-AG contacted Captain Danet of the St. Barths SNSM lifeboat SNS 269 which just recently returned to duty with a brand-new and highly motivated team, to assist as there were eight or nine crew to extract from the tanker.
Rescue Star arrived on site at 5:45am, but the tanker had a problem with its ladder and could not get it down immediately. Rescue Star waited on stand-by next to the 274-metre-long vessel which was sitting very high on the water as it was not loaded.
The ladder finally was deployed at 6:15am and the doctor and nurse boarded the tanker to assess the patients’ state of health. The doctor confirmed there were nine crew to evacuate, fortunately all mobile, who managed to climb down the ladder themselves to get onto the Rescue Star.
Despite good weather there was a big bottom swell (Northern swell) with the end of the ladder at one moment straight underwater and seconds later more than two metres above the heads of the rescue crew, posing a big risk for the boat.
The difficult task of transferring the nine sick crewmembers, as well as doctor and nurse, onto Rescue Star was repeated more than 10 times. After recovering the first eight patients (waiting for the last one), five of them and one of the nurses were transferred onto SNS 269 which had just arrived onsite with four crew members and which then immediately departed for Marigot.
Rescue Star was full with four patients, the doctor and the other nurse about 10 minutes later, and on its way to Marigot where the ambulances were waiting. The patients were put on shore at the ferry terminal at 7:45am, from where they were taken to Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital.
Rescue Star refuelled courtesy of its sponsor Delta Petroleum before returning to base at Fort Louis Marina at 8:40am. Volunteer lifeboat crews were happy to have participated in a successful joint mission.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/86535-snsm-lifeboats-evacuate-nine-crew-from-oil-tanker