1 Dies, 5 Fall Ill on board Heavy Lift Vessel off Durban

Boskalis Heavy Lift VesselImage Courtesy: NSRI Durban

A Brazilian man died, while five more fell ill as they were sailing on board a heavy lift vessel off South Africa.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) of Durban, the ship called for assistance on January 7, seeking medical evacuation for the crew. On the ship’s captain’s request, the body of the deceased man remained onboard the ship.

Based on the footage released by the rescue coordination centre, the heavy-lift vessel is part of Boskalis fleet and was transporting Petrobras-owned floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO) .

NSRI Durban, Netcare 911 ambulance services and the SA Air Force (SAAF) were tasked to rendezvous with the vessel which diverted from deep-sea and headed towards Durban.

“On arrival on the scene, 28 nautical miles off-shore East of Durban, the SAAF Oryx helicopter landed on the ship’s helicopter pad,” NSRI said.

“The SAAF BK-117 helicopter and the sea rescue craft stood-by on the scene while Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and the NSRI medic took over care of the 5 patients from the ships medical crew and the patients were transferred into the Oryx helicopter.”

Medical treatment continued in the helicopter and the 5 patients, 1 in a critical condition and 4 in stable condition were airlifted to a hospital in Durban.

NSRI said that all 5 patients are in stable conditions and they are recovering in hospital.

A Boskalis spokesperson told World Maritime News that its semi-submersible heavy transport vessel the Vanguard was the ship engaged in the incident.

Namely, the Vanguard was transporting an FPSO en route from China to Brazil with subcontractors still onboard finalizing some work on the FPSO.

As informed, over the weekend six subcontractor workers fell ill, one of them unfortunately with fatal consequences.

The Boskalis spokesperson said that the type of illness that affected the crew was still unknown and that activities are being undertaken to determine it.

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