Recent notices from 1-Call have been sent to your vessels transiting the Alaska EEZ regarding Coronavirus Reporting requirements for US Voyages and Innocent passage in Alaska. To better understand why this reporting was put into place, the following will explain what this reporting means for your crew:
Alaska is unique when compared to other parts of the United States where vessels entering the EEZ would be bound for a US port subject to US regulations, but in Alaska, most maritime traffic is transitory meaning vessels do not call on Alaska (To Canada or the Western United States) ports. In response to the COVID19 pandemic, the US Coast Guard determined that all cases onboard ships constitute a hazardous condition and fall under US Law 33 CFR § 160.216:
- 160.216 Notice of hazardous conditions:
(a) Whenever there is a hazardous condition either onboard a vessel or caused by a vessel or its operation, the owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge must immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Sector Office or Group Office, and in addition, submit any report required by 46 CFR 4.05-10.
Like any other hazardous condition, COVID19 onboard requires reporting to the nearest USCG Sector Office (Sector Anchorage), where watchstanders are available to assist* Captains who need assistance in making necessary notifications.
*1-Call cannot submit this report on behalf of the vessel but can assist in filling the report out.
Medical Evacuation: Early July 2020, a 1-Call Alaska Client vessel was sailing off Alaska outside the United States EEZ (Heading from Manzanillo, Mexico to Busan, Korea) when a crew member suffered a severe respiratory problem 215 nautical miles from Adak, Alaska.
The Captain contacted 1-Call Alaska for assistance in facilitating a medical evacuation for the crewmember. 1-Call Alaska coordinated with the master and US Coast Guard Search & Rescue Dispatch Center in Juneau, Alaska directing the vessel to Adak a remote island of 240 with a clinic and a nurse. Adak is the last American city in the Aleutians, and the Captain of the vessel’s other option was Petropavlovsk, Russia at over 892 NM to the West or Anchorage hospital over 1,074 miles to the east. Fearing for the crewmember’s life the Captain opted to utilize Adak and the US Coast Guard’s emergency evacuation.
Luckily, the vessel had properly notified the Coast Guard via “Proper Notice” that they had a COVID19 related injury aboard enabling the process to execute quickly for the crew and company. The vessel was able to contract an Agent who facilitated an air ambulance flight from Adak to Anchorage where the crewmember was transported to the small island by boat then to Anchorage by air ambulance where he made a full recovery.
The Aleutians are very remote, and we encourage all crews to remain vigilant about the ongoing pandemic and other onboard issues. Available options to assist in the event of medical evacuations are limited and in the event, your ship requires assistance time is of the essence and 1-Call is all you need.