17th Nov. 05

I was Chief Engineer when this incident took place on one of my vessels.

We had left Durban after bunkering on our way to an Indian port of discharge. As the crew were completing a 12-month contract and reaching India shortly, the vessel had a party on one night when we were 300 miles off Seychelles.

I attended the party along with my family members and left about 10.00 pm. At about 10.30 pm it was brought to my notice that a Quarter Master had fallen headlong from the top of a staircase inside the accommodation.

I went to see him and found him in a pool of blood, bleeding from face, nose, and head wounds. The injured person soon went in to a coma. We contacted the radio medical help, and were instructed to head for Seychelles, this being the nearest port. We requested for Helicopter airlift; but as it was midnight and the weather rainy this was not possible.

Meanwhile the person was struggling with a fluctuating blood pressure, and bleeding continuously. The ship's personnel were unsuccessful at staunching the blood flow or introducing an intravenous drip. In fact one of the officers fainted from the sight of so much blood. The injured Quarter Master finally bled to death after 4 or 5 hours.

The lack of timely help from ashore and inadequate training of ship's officers in matters medical is to be noted.
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