The Seafarers Union of Russia helped to evacuate a seriously ill seafarer from Guinea-Bissau to Kaliningrad.
The seafarer suffered an acute stroke on Board the m/v Pilot Whale and was transferred to a hospital in the city of Bissau. On April 25, Global Voyager Assistance Group organized a special medical flight, renting a plane to repatriate the seafarer, but the plane could not take off without a confirmed approval from the Khrabrovo airport in Kaliningrad. "All our attempts to organize hospitalization of a serious patient upon arrival were rejected by the local authorities. We have to wait responces from the official of Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing and Ministry of health which shift responsibilities on each orthers. We ask for your assistance in hospitalizing the crrwmember,-" Lyubov Chesmochakova, operations director of Global Voyager Assistance Group, advised the SUR
The same request was made to the Seafarers Union territorial organization in Kaliningrad by the crewing agency Transco. As it turned out upon the request to the government of the Kaliningrad region, no one was going to impede the repatriation of a seafarer. Obviously taking in mind the pandemic was impossible to organize all instantly as it takes time. The air ambulance from Bissau was ready to take off on Saturday, but it was a day off and this also caused some difficulties in getting all the necessary approvals. Finally the plane from Bissau landed safely in the airport of Khrabrovo (Kaliningrad). After being examined by a doctor, the seafarer was delivered to the hospital where he has been receiving all the necessary assistance. To date the seafarer's condition remains stable, which is important, given the severity of the disease.
The Seafarers Union of Russia expresses its gratitude to the government of the Kaliningrad region for its participation and prompt responce in such difficult present day conditions. This is especially valuable when it comes to preserving human life. Note that in order to avoid administrative delays, the government of the Kaliningrad region recommends that shipowners report such emergencies immediately as in the conditions of Covid-19 pandemic it is not easy for companies to organize an urgent evacuation from a foreign countris. But, as this case shows, a solution can always be found with the desire and hard work of all interested parties. For reference: Global Voyager Assistance is an international medical assistance company founded in 1998 in Cyprus and later opened 24-hour alarm centers in Moscow (Russia) in 1999 and in Odessa (Ukraine) 2009. The main activity of GVA is medical and technical assistance to travelers, seafarers and international organizations around the world.