The St John marine ambulance, Flying Christine III, has developed a fault in the new gearbox that was fitted a few weeks ago. As a consequence it is currently out of action and contingency plans are in place to cover all calls whilst work takes place to remedy the fault.
The contingency plans are robust and have been deployed over many years to cover the vessel whenever it is undergoing maintenance. Emergency calls are responded to using the RNLI St Peter Port Lifeboat with paramedics on board, and non-emergency transfers from the other islands and ships at sea are also facilitated by other private vessels with accompanying ambulance staff.
Jon Beausire, Chief Officer, St John Ambulance and Rescue Service said: “We are naturally disappointed that the new gearbox recently fitted on the Flying Christine III has failed, taking the vessel out of service at this time of year. We are in daily contact with the repairers who are communicating with the manufacturers regarding repairs.
“In the meantime we have invoked our tried and tested contingency plan, to ensure that all calls for the marine ambulance are responded to with paramedics and other ambulance staff on board the responding vessels.”
The marine repairers are in contact with the gearbox manufacturers in the USA to determine what work is required and it is anticipated that this work will be carried out under warranty.
It is not known at this time how long the repairs will take as this will be dependent on the availability of parts and whether they need to be sourced from the manufacturer.
The marine ambulance is funded primarily from donations and a small subscription scheme. It is crewed by volunteer mariners, who give their time and expertise, and provide response to calls 24 hours a day. Paramedics and other ambulance staff, sometimes midwives, form the medical part of the crew dependant on the type of patient being attended to.