Filipino Seafarers medical repatriation amidst COVID-19 restrictions an impossible task?


( Filipino Seafarers requiring medical repatriation back to Manila amidst COVID-19 restrictions, quarantine measures and lack of commercial flights make this an almost impossible task? GVA is here to help!

A Filipino seafarer, 25, was disembarked from his vessel in a critical condition and hospitalized in a medical facility in Vancouver, Canada. He was diagnosed with cerebral tumor (a malignant tumor, that is very aggressive and difficult to treat). The surgery was successfully performed in Vancouver and the seafarer needed to be returned back to Manila for further ongoing treatment as soon as possible. He also needs to be at home close to his family in such a difficult personal time. The seafarer’s serious condition required the assistance of a professional medical escort during his long trip home.

Is it even possible to undertake a complex medical evacuation on a commercial airline carrier to Manila in the current climate? The worldwide anti-COVID-19 measures and severe travel restrictions make it almost impossible. There were no flights with established legal connections. Travelling via countries is mainly prohibited for non-residents, passengers can even be refused boarding of an aircraft without specially obtained travel permissions. There is a high risk of quarantine sanctions on any leg of journey. Every passenger upon arrival at Manila International Airport is subject to the strict 14 days quarantine regulated by Bureau of Quarantine of the Philippines.

The round-the-clock work of the GVA Team on this challenge helped to manage this transfer successfully. For this specific mission GVA appointed a medical professional who held a dual citizenship one of which was for the Philippines Republic, which meant to be more easily granted the relevant approvals and travel without any possible delays.

GVA worked closely with the Philippines authorities, Airlines representatives and Airports immigration services at each step of the transfer across the Pacific and the various ground transits locations to secure the smooth transportation of the Filipino seafarer and GVA medical escort safely to Manila. Upon arrival in Manila the seafarer was met by the local medical team and transferred to the hospital for further treatment. The GVA medical escort was met by the specially appointed Team of local authority representatives, arranged by GVA in advance who secured the swift immigration clearance and safe boarding of the medical escort on the return flight back.

The seafarer arrived in Manila in a stable medical condition, having been taken care of by the medical professional and was happy to be home. The quarantine risk was successfully managed by GVA, meaning the ship owners were protected from the potential significant additional expense, if the patient and medical escort had to be detained for 14 days at any point of the journey.

This was already 50th difficult and complex challenge that was managed by GVA to a successful conclusion. During the unprecedented times of COVID-19 – we work hard to make impossible – possible.

Please feel free to address your questions to GVA - Global Voyager Assistance


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