Message for U.S. Citizens: No Decompression Chamber in PNG

Attention scuba divers residing in or travelling to Papua New Guinea,

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby has confirmed that the hyperbaric decompression chamber located in Port Moresby is currently closed and disabled, with no timeline for when it will be reactivated.

The chamber is located at the Port Moresby Medical Clinic, but is owned by Hyperbaric Partners Ltd. There is currently a legal dispute between these two entities, and the issue is tied up in the PNG courts.

There are no other decompression chambers located in Papua New Guinea. Should a diver need one, they would have to be flown to Australia on a special medivac plane that can pressurize to sea level.

Currently, Tropicair Limited in Port Moresby (Ph: +675 311 2673 Cell: +675 7687 5047

Email: info@tropicair.com.pg) is the primary provider of medical planes capable of “cabin at sea level” flights to Cairns (80 minutes away). They partner with medical teams from either Pacific International Hospital or International SOS. The average cost of the flight is 40,000 PGK ($13,000 USD), and the medical teams can cost as much as 60,000 PGK ($20,000 USD).

Thus, medical evacuation insurance and diver’s insurance (for decompression treatment) is absolutely required.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in our Consular district (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Vanuatu) enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov to receive the latest security updates. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in case of an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or consular agency.

Stay up-to-date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information and follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.

You can obtain updated information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.

These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays.

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby is located on Douglas Street, National Capital District and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 675-321-1455 or 675-321-0289. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is 675-7200-9439.