SA Cruise News

Elderly British passenger evacuated from cruise ship off Port Elizabeth

An 87-year-old British passenger was evacuated Tuesday morning from a cruise ship sailing off the coast of South Africa after suffering a medical emergency, according to IOL.

South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was notified of the emergency by the ship’s crew around 1am on Tuesday morning, as the cruise ship was approaching Port Elizabeth.

The cruise ship in question was not named, but both AIDAaura and AIDAmar were enroute to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning.

AIDAaura is homeporting in Cape Town through the winter season, sailing two-week roundtrip cruises around South Africa, while AIDAmar is visiting ports on the South African coast during her 81-night grand voyage from San Antonio to Hamburg.

“The sea rescue craft, Spirit of Toft, was launched, accompanied by Eastern Cape government health Emergency Medical Services rescue paramedics, and rendezvoused with the vessel between 12 and 15 nautical miles off-shore in 45 knot winds and rough seas,” said Jonathan Tufts, NSRI Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) deputy station commander.

The passenger had already been stabilised by the ship’s onboard medical team and an EMS rescue paramedic and two NSRI rescue swimmers were transferred onto the vessel.

“The woman… was then secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and in a high angle rope technical rescue operation she was transferred onto the NSRI rescue craft,” Tufts added.

An NSRI rescue boat was dispatched to rendezvous with the ship and evacuate the passenger.

Once in the care of EMS paramedics, she was placed aboard the NSRI rescue vessel and brought back to shore where she was transferred into an ambulance and taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The nature of the medical emergency was not reported, but this is the second at-sea evacuation of a cruise passenger off South Africa this month. Two weeks ago a passenger had to be rescued by NSRI after falling aboard a cruise ship sailing from Cape Town.

AIDA Cruises is a German cruise line that caters almost exclusively for its home market, but it is also popular with some intrepid none-German passengers that enjoy the resort-at-sea atmosphere found aboard its ships.

The cruise line’s two-week roundtrip cruises out of Cape Town on the South African coast are also popular with a more international market, as the itineraries offer a destination-focused voyage visiting all the country’s major cruise ports.

Until the arrival of Norwegian Jade this year, AIDA was the only mainstream cruise line offering these types of cruises in South Africa (apart from MSC Cruises, which is targeted at the local SA market).

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