Innovative Medical Support in the Kara Sea

Case Study

SD Kara Sea “Mini blood lab” for upgraded medical care in remote environments


Provide medical support for Marine seismic operations in a very remote and challenging Arctic environment.


The CGG vessel Geo Celtic conducted a seismic survey in the Arctic waters of the Kara Sea. The survey area was very remote and required four to five days of crew transport by boat; the location was out of reach for normal emergency helicopter support and at times had only limited satellite communication. The challenge for CGG was to provide medical support without being able to rely on onshore hospitals in the event of serious injury or illness.


CGG upgraded its medical capabilities to cope with most medical emergencies onboard. The first step was to upgrade the onboard medical facility with new equipment for trauma diagnosis. We installed an X-ray machine, an ultrasound unit and equipment for various mini-labs.

We set up the first-ever civilian offshore walking blood bank onboard to enable fresh whole blood transfusions in life-threatening situations.

The “walking blood bank” makes it possible for onboard medical staff to collect fresh whole blood from crew members in an emergency situation. The blood bank was set up in compliance with stringent guidelines determined at project inception. Following informed consent, crew volunteers underwent blood screening for infectious diseases and ABO Rh matches. Transfusion procedures and protocols were established. Restricted access to PLYO, Lyophilized Plasma was made available to support transfusions. This innovative project received support from the University Hospital of Bergen, Norway and from the CTSA French Military Medical Services at Percy Hospital, Clamart, France.


CGG demonstrated that we are capable of developing new approaches to medical care in remote offshore environments and meeting the medical care challenge with innovative and practical solutions. An offshore, onsite, walking blood bank is an important breakthrough for emergency response and PLYO is an innovative human product, easy to activate and very convenient in remote locations.

A very positive side benefit of the project was the team spirit created when the crew stepped up to give blood and help protect each other. Fortunately, no life-threatening emergencies required the use of the upgraded facilities or the walking blood bank during the Kara Sea project!

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