Flagged Ships With COVID-19 Patients Told Go to the Bahamas

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U.S Coast Guards told U.S unregistered ships to seek help elsewhere

Flagged vessels registered in the Bahamas, that has COVID19 patients onboard, should head to the Bahamas for assistance.

According to a US Coast Guard bulletin recently issued, such ships must seek medical assistance from the country in which they are registered because the medical facilities in the United States are overwhelmed.

“Foreign flagged vessels that loiter beyond US territorial seas, particularly those registered to the Bahamas, that require a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) to a shoreside facility, should seek flag state support prior to seeking support from the limited facilities in the US,” the bulletin says.

The bulletin states that an increase in COVID19 cases onboard ships in Florida, have increased, requiring medical evacuations of COVID19 cases.

This has resulted in a “strain on local medical resources…medical facilities are no longer accepting MEDEVAC patients due to limited hospital capacity and is expected that neighbouring counties will follow,” the bulletin says.

The flag stateis the jurisdiction under whose laws the vessel is registered or licensed, and is deemed the nationality of the vessel.

Many ships are registered to the Bahamas, including cruise lines like Carnival, Disney, NCL and Royal Caribbean.

Foreign-flagged ships are the norm in the cruise industry, particularly in the Bahamas where the tourism industry is dependent on cruise visits.

It is believed that many cruise companies register their ships in country’s like the Bahamas to circumvent U.S. taxes and employment and environmental laws.

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