The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Richards Bay

Teenager Evacuated from Cruise Ship After Significant Injury

Michael Hawthorne

RICHARDS BAY – An 18-year-old male passenger was evacuated from a cruise ship heading towards Richards Bay in the early hours of the morning after sustaining a significant injury. The evacuation was carried out by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) following a request from the ship.

The teenager believed to be from Johannesburg, had been injured onboard the vessel. The cruise ship, which had departed Durban and was heading towards Mozambique, reached the vicinity of the Tugela River Mouth when the evacuation was initiated. Medical professionals, including the ship’s doctor and the Western Cape Government Health EMS duty doctor, communicated via the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). They determined that urgent transport to a hospital was necessary.

NSRI Richards Bay launched its rescue craft, Ocean Guardian, rendezvousing with the cruise ship 7 nautical miles offshore. Winds were gusting up to 40 knots, and the seas featured 2-3 meter swells. The cruise ship skillfully manoeuvred to provide some protection from the wind, facilitating access to the port hatch.

An NSRI MEX (Maritime Extrication) crewman boarded the cruise ship and assisted the injured teenager onto the rescue craft. The patient was then transported to NSRI station 19 with NSRI medics and a member of his travel group in attendance. A Netcare 911 ambulance was waiting to transport the patient to the hospital, where he arrived in stable condition.

The successful medical evacuation was a coordinated effort involving the NSRI Richards Bay duty controllers, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Center), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of Richards Bay Port Control, a Western Cape Government Health EMS duty doctor, Netcare 911 duty controllers, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, and the ship agent, all working in conjunction with the MRCC.


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