Rescue: The SNSM of Saint-Martin on a mission for medical evacuation on a container ship!


On Friday November 8, around 12:30 p.m., the CROSS des Antilles-Guyane sends a first call to find out if a team of volunteer rescuers from the Saint-Martin sea rescue station would be available for a possible medical evacuation later in the afternoon.

An hour later, the CROSS specifies that it is a question of recovering a sick team member on board a container ship which is diverted towards the French waters of Saint-Martin; the vessel has a draft of more than 12 m and therefore cannot get too close to the island; a GPS meeting is given for 17:00 p.m. 5 nautical miles from the west coast of Terres Basses.

"Most of the time, when the station is called, it is in an emergency and we have to set off within 20 minutes of the call," said Anke ROOSENS, Deputy Patron Saint of SNSM Saint-Martin.

But this time, the SNSM has time to quietly build up a team of 5 available volunteer team members who meet at the station at 16:20 p.m.

In the process, the semi-rigid RESCUE STAR leaves Marina Fort Louis and is a quarter of an hour later in the area, next to the giant of the seas.

The ship, the MAERSK NESTON, is enormous; it is a 210-meter (700 ft.) container ship weighing almost 35 tonnes! Next to it, the 000m.12 (88ft) RESCUE STAR is tiny.

The mastodon is on its way to Colombia, from the south of Spain; one of the ship's crew is ill with breathing difficulties and the ship's captain does not want to risk his health deteriorating in the middle of nowhere;  hence the decision, after a conference call with the CROSS and a doctor, to land him in Saint-Martin.

The Rescue Star approaches the ship, strongly shaken by the eddy, because the MAERSK NESTON is advancing at 24 knots and it is necessary to come and stick to its starboard where a ladder has been lowered vertically to allow the patient to descend. A delicate maneuver at this speed!

Once the patient is on board, the Rescue Star takes off and begins to move away, when it is called back to come back to collect the luggage… New approach maneuver to collect 2 suitcases,  descended with a tip, one after the other. Finally, the Rescue Star separates for good and heads for Marigot, while the MAERSK NESTON resumes its road to Colombia. At 17:20 p.m., at the ferry quay, the patient is transferred to a SAMU team for treatment at the Marigot Hospital Center.

Ten minutes later, the Rescue Star and its crew returned to their base at the Fort Louis marina. End of operation. _AF


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