After An Influx of Coast Guard Medical Evacuations, Cruise Lines Now Being Asked to Arrange Own Medical Transportation for Guests and Crew
As Donald Trump continues to strategize about how to give foreign-based cruise lines a taxpayer bailout, the major cruise lines have been asked to stop using Coast Guard resources to evacuate sick passengers. Despite allegedly suspending operations, there are now a “dozen-plus cruise ships hovering off MIami’s cost.”
Normally “when cruise ships have someone on board who is too ill for the ship’s medical team to care for, officers simply call the Coast Guard and get a medical evacuation to a nearby hospital.” But now, the Coast Guard says that “the recent increase in medical consultations (MEDICOs), ultimately resulting in medical evacuations (MEDEVACs), has placed… strains on local medical resources.”
In response to these reports, Derek Martin, Director of Allied Progress, issued the following statement:
“Foreign-flagged cruise lines are happy to rely on American taxpayers to rescue sick passengers, but apparently find American labor laws too much of an inconvenience for their business model. As Donald Trump and his allies in Washington weigh a bailout for the major cruise companies, they should demand those businesses register in the United States, pay US taxes and abide by US labor laws before they consider spending even one more US tax dollar on this industry.”
KEY EXCERPT FROM THE MIAMI HERALD:
The U.S. Coast Guard is now directing ships registered in the Bahamas to seek aid from that country first — even if the ships are owned by Miami-based companies. It is also advising ships with more than 50 aboard that they may be sequestered “indefinitely.”
The Coast Guard issued that and other new rules this week in the face of an increasing number of requests to medically evacuate people from the dozen-plus cruise ships hovering off Miami’s coast, according to a public memo. The new framework requires cruise lines to arrange for private transportation for those who are sick rather than relying on the Coast Guard.
As calls pour in to ferry sick people to land, the district has had to improvise field hospitals “whose capacity for dealing with critical patients is unproven at this time,” read the memo signed by Rear Admiral E.C. Jones of the Seventh District, which includes Florida, Puerto Rico, Georgia and South Carolina.
The memo was posted on a Coast Guard website and directed toward passenger vessels registered in foreign countries — which includes nearly all cruise ships in the South Florida-based fleet.