Cruise ship leaving SA instructed to return after crewman falls ill

An NSRI crew helped evacuate a sick crewman from a cruise ship off the coast of Durban on Monday.
An NSRI crew helped evacuate a sick crewman from a cruise ship off the coast of Durban on Monday.
Image: 123RF/Susan Robinson

A departing cruise liner was forced to turn back towards Durban after a New Zealand crewman required urgent medical attention on Monday.

Jonathan Kellerman, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station commander, said the ship was in deep waters off the Eastern Cape coast when authorities instructed it to head towards Durban.

A Western Cape government emergency services doctor, who was in communication with the ship's medical crew, confirmed that a 26-year-old man needed immediate hospitalisation.​ The nature of the man's illness hasn't been disclosed.

Kellerman said an NSRI team in Durban, accompanied by paramedics, launched a sea rescue craft to rendezvous with the approaching cruise liner.

“Our NSRI sea rescue craft rendezvoused with the ship three nautical miles off Durban and a rescue swimmer and paramedic boarded the ship.

“The paramedic took over care of the patient from the ship's medical crew and the patient was transferred onto the sea rescue craft without incident.”

Kellerman said the crewman was taken to the sea rescue base then transported to a nearby hospital.

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