Despite the rough weather conditions prevailing in the Aegean these days, Archipelagos Institute was asked carry out within 1 day 2 emergency transfers of patients with serious health problems (not COVID 19) from a small to a larger island.
With a continuous presence for over 24 years in the Aegean, there have been numerous similar incidents to which we have been called to respond, usually under adverse weather conditions. Archipelagos Institute offers use of its boats to the Civil Protection Authorities and the island communities, always on a non-profit basis when no other means of transportation can respond.
In the specific incidents we fully understand that based on the prevailing weather conditions, the boats of the Coast Guard declared inability to respond. But what we do not understand is why the Ambulance Boats were not used, which have been advertised so much and have costed even more as they are equipped with very specialized equipment to respond to medical incidents, even in difficult conditions. It is really a paradox that when there is a forecast of adverse weather conditions – that is, conditions in which the Ambulance Boats are absolutely necessary- they dock and remain on large islands to which they have nothing to offer. Their location should be in strategic points near the small islands, which are in direct need of them.
We at the Archipelagos Institute are always available to assist where possible. After all, as we contribute to the protection of nature, we have a corresponding moral obligation to help our fellow human beings as much as we can. But neither the seamanship nor the good intentions are enough to ensure that the people we are called to transport with our boats have the necessary specialized conditions and care for their transportation, in the difficult moment when a health related urgent delivery must be made. Therefore we hope to at last see the ambulance boats meet the purpose for which they were purchased.