Northern Health suing ship owner for medical expenses

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Northern Health is suing a ship owner alleged to have reneged on bills for medical expenses.

According to a notice of claim filed March 24 in BC Supreme Court, a member of the crew aboard the Morning Cloud needed emergency medical care while the bulk cargo carrier had berthed at the Port of Prince Rupert in January 2021.

The crew member was in hospital for eight days, most of the time spent at Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace. The cost of the care amounted to $45,489 and because the patient was a foreign citizen, he did not qualify for coverage under public health insurance in Canada.

The ship’s owner, Vitcay Maritime Inc., is listed as a defendant, as is the ship’s manager, Zodiac Maritime Ltd., both registered at an office in London, as well as GW Nickerson Co. Ltd., a vessel agency and customs brokerage based in Prince Rupert. The crew member is also listed as a defendant.

The day after the crew member was discharged, Northern Health had delivered an invoice to GW Nickerson, as had been requested by the agency, adding up to $40,368. Invoices for the cost of transfer to MMH by ambulance, $3,991, and additional costs, $1,130, were also delivered.

To date, the bills have not been paid, according to the claim and receipt of the invoices by Vitcay and Zodiac was confirmed by their appointment of counsel in BC to dispute charging non-residents rates for the care, the claim states.

The allegations have not been tested in court and the defendants have not yet filed responses.