U.S. Navy Medevacs Mariner from Reefer Vessel off Guam

File image courtesy HSC-25 / USN

Published Jan 14, 2020 6:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last week, the U.S. Navy helped medevac a crewmember from the Taiwanese reefer Sheng Hong at a position about 150 miles south of Guam.

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a report from Rescue Coordination Center Taipei in Taiwan. RCC Taipei reported that a 61-year-old crewmember aboard the Sheng Hong was in need of assistance; the seafarer's crewmates had found him in his room unconscious after trying to contact him over the ship's phone.

At about 1420 hours, JRCC Honolulu watchstanders notified their counterparts in Guam of the emergency. JRSC Guam consulted with a Navy duty flight surgeon, who recommended a medical evacuation as soon as possible. Watchstanders then reached out to the U.S. Navy's Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 to request helicopter support.

HSC-25 accepted the mission and quickly launched a Seahawk crew in order to avoid the need for a night time hoist, which can complicate the evolution and increase risk. Upon reaching the rendezvous point, the Seahawk aircrew successfully hoisted the man from the deck of the Sheng Hong and brought him to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam in stable condition. Emergency medical personnel transferred him to Guam Memorial Hospital for further treatment.

"HSC-25’s flight surgeon, pilots, air crews and helicopters are critical to the search and rescue response for the Mariana Islands. The ability to extend our reach to almost 150 miles away from Guam to conduct a medical evacuation of a critically ill patient highlights this partnership to serve our community and mariners," said Cmdr. Allison Cox, a Sector Guam search and rescue mission coordinator.

The Sheng Hong is a 1980-built traditional reefer fitted with yard-and-stay gear.