EMERGENCY services have been kept busy with medical evacuations of sick passengers from cruise ships, while in NZ a small local cruise vessel last week struck rocks and issued a mayday call.

Just after first light yesterday morning (28 January) AMSA co-ordinated the medevac of a person from the cruise ship Celebrity Edge 140 kilometres north east of Townsville, Queensland. The AMSA Response Centre tasked the Cairns based Challenger aircraft to support evacuation operations and tasked a rescue helicopter to winch the passenger and subsequently transfer the patient to Townsville hospital for treatment.

Last Wednesday (24 January) an elderly woman was winched from Virgin Cruises’ Resilent Lady off Victoria’s Surf Coast. According to local media paramedics were called to the ship at about 0430 hrs after the woman suffered a medical episode. The helicopter retrieval took place about 0730, when the woman was flown to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

Meanwhile, on the same day at about 1815 local time the scenic cruise vessel Fjordland Navigator sent out a mayday after striking rocks near Crooked Arm in NZ’s Doubtful Sound in the country’s south-west. The vessel suffered a hull breach and took on water but later refloated and returned to its berth.

Operator RealNZ said all 57 passengers and 10 crew were safe with only one minor injury reported.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is reviewing the incident.