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Medical Matters at sea.

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Dick
Posts: 267


12/27/2017
Dick
Posts: 267
Hi O,
Oh, I envy you being in Herzliya. We spent a month there in 2007.
The country who used the dogs was Russia (St. Petersburg) in 2012 give or take a year. We cleared in the day before and were asked the same question and answered “no”. The next day a cruising acquaintance came through and was asked the same question with the results as already reported. From my perspective, the officials did not feel slighted so much as lied to. I think most officials react strongly if they think they are being messed with. With the language difference, it took awhile to make clear it was a mis-understanding and that there was no intent to deceive.
As an aside, and I do mean to say it played a part in this case, it has been my observation that the more squared away you and your vessel is, the more likely customs/immigration will go smoothly. We always clean up, put things away, dishes washed, me shaved, and wearing long pants and a button-down shirt etc. and with all relevant papers prepared ahead and ready-at-hand.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Hasbun
Posts: 49


12/27/2017
Hasbun
Posts: 49
Hello Dick,

Of course documentation is important everywhere, but it is also interesting to know in which country the authorities felt so slighted and compelled to use hounds. Just for future reference.

Thanks,

O.
currently Herzliya, Israel
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Dick
Posts: 267


12/27/2017
Dick
Posts: 267
Hi Simon and all,
We have a fairly extensive collection of prescription drugs developed over the years for ocean crossings and for those times we were in remote areas. Over this time, it has become clear that it is helpful to have the: original prescriptions, and a letter from the prescribing Dr. saying that he/she has prescribed these medications for the Ship’s Medicine Chest for use by the Captain in remote areas, that the Dr. has talked with the Captain and crew about the medication’s use, and that, when used, there will be communication with medical consultants where possible (or something like that).
On Alchemy, we keep Rx meds in a separate bag with lots of documentation and manuals (if starting out again, I would store in a locked box). There can also be a piece of paper (a pre-made-up form) documenting Rx med use with date, dosage etc. and places for notes and signature. The more organized and official this looks the better: remember this will not be inspected by physicians. You want it to look official and as much like a ship’s medicine area that might be found on commercial vessels where the officials who will be doing the search are usually working.
A last note: we have almost always been asked whether we have any drugs on board and usually with those exact words, even if the official is not English speaking. We always answer as if the official was inquiring about illegal recreational drugs while also having the clear awareness that the official may (and probably is) asking about the drugs that are ingredients in my more powerful Rx meds as well. To answer by bringing up our quite powerful Rx meds is a route we choose not to go down. So far, we answer that we have no drugs on board and that has been fine. That said, we know of one boat where the officials felt like they were lied to when the Cap’t answered as we do and dogs found his Rx meds, some of which were banned in this country. This may have been problem enough, but it was a bigger deal that the officials felt they were lied to. This was looking like a big mess till with effort and help, it got sorted.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 742


12/27/2017
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 742
Yesterday a British woman was sent to an Egyptian prison for 3 years for importing 270 tramadol tablets into Egypt for her boyfriend’s use. Though legal in the U.K. tramadol is a controlled drug. It is not clear how she had obtained these drugs in the U.K. as the were not for her use.

This post is to remind boats carrying controlled drugs that some jurisdictions classify drugs and drug possession differently and vigorously prosecute transgressions.

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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