Over the weekend, the Coast Guard medevac’d a man off a Chinese vessel almost 15 nautical miles away from Nome.
According to the Coast Guard, the Xue Long, a Chinese research boat, reported that a Chinese crew member had broken his arm while conducting research in the Arctic. The Xue Long then traveled about 15 miles offshore from Nome, where the injured man was then transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley.
Chief Petty Officer Shawn Eggert works in the Public Affairs office for the 17th District of the U.S. Coast Guard. Eggert says medevacs involving foreign nationals require cooperation between the U.S. State Department, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection, or CBP:
“CBP has the authority to grant temporary humanitarian parole to foreign nationals for medical emergency. Basically, that means they can decide whether or not to allow someone in based on the type of injuries sustained and what the particular situation is. So, the Coast Guard works with them and the State Department to hammer out those details.”
Frank Falcon with U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it is common for temporary entry to be given to a foreign national who is seeking medical parole under the Immigration and Nationality Act; however, it might be less common for a medevac to also be provided.
The Chinese national’s identity has not been released by the Coast Guard, and his health status is unknown, but the vessel Xue Long did leave Nome’s waters sometime before Sunday morning.
Image at top: A small boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley medevacs a man suffering a broken arm from the Chinese research vessel Xue Long, 15 nautical miles from Nome, Alaska, Sept. 23, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.