Repatriation of seafarers, positively tested for Covid-19

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An interview with Tamara Voskamp, VHD

Seafarers are sometimes concerned about what will happen if they are positively tested for Covid-19 while abroad. People worry about the availability of proper medical care in the port of arrival. Or are unsure about the possibilities of returning to their home country.

In this interview with Tamara Voskamp of VHD, we will discuss a few scenarios concerning repatriation of people with Covid-19 . This way you and your employees are informed about the course of events when this situation might arise.

What does VHD do?

When an employer is insured with Anker Crew Insurance, the Anker Alarm Service will be contacted for the medical repatriation of an employee. VHD is the service provider for Anker Alarm Service. We are specialized in organizing assistance after incidents abroad or in a homeland.

What happens if someone has Covid-19 in a foreign port?

First, we ensure that a seafarer who was tested positive for Covid-19 receives adequate on-site medical care if needed. How this will work out is completely dependent on the regulations of the local authorities. On which we have to act. The situation can differ from country to country and is constantly changing worldwide.

If it is necessary for someone to be quarantined and this is not already organized by the local authorities, we will arrange an accommodation on sight.

How do you handle repatriations in remote areas?

We have cooperation partners in all countries, with whom we can communicate swiftly to get things done. This means that we can also receive information very quick in remote areas. Or places where repatriations take place less often. This way we can quickly call-in help locally, if necessary.

Does VHD already have experience transporting people with Covid-19?

Up until now, we have dealt with a few occasions where someone could not be adequately treated on site. For example, due to the lack of respiratory equipment. We were able to evacuate these people safely and quickly to a location where adequate care was available. This can be done either by specially equipped ambulances for the transport of Covid-19 patients, or by ambulance flights in emergencies. 

We can organize different kinds of solutions worldwide.

Tamara Voskamp, VHD
Is this the same for restrictions outside of Europe?

Outside of Europe, repatriation of a positive patient is often more difficult. In most cases, someone has to travel by airplane to their home country.  There are often strict requirements for this.

Seafarers have to wait for a quarantine period and submit a negative Covid-19 test before repatriation can take place. In that case, we will make sure that accommodation is available for this person and organize the repatriation as soon as possible.

And if a seafarer has to travel under medical supervision?

If a patient is allowed to travel again, but only under medical supervision, then there are certainly possibilities for this. We often have to be creative.   For example, by deploying medical personnel who were on a return journey from a country with strict restrictions, but could still accompany a patient.

We have always managed to successfully arrange a medical repatriation to a patient’s home country, even during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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