Carnival Cruise Ship Rescues Boat Taking on Water

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Carnival Valor rescued three stranded boaters on Sunday, March 26, 2023, after being alerted to the emergency situation by the United States Coast Guard. The incident happened in the morning on the second day of the ship’s sailing, as the vessel had departed New Orleans on Saturday, March 25 for a 5-night Western Caribbean cruise.

Carnival Valor Rescue

Carnival Valor was contacted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, March 26, 2023, alerting the cruise ship to a vessel taking on water 386 miles (621 kilometers) offshore of Alabama.

The vessel in distress was the 44-foot recreational boat Snail Mail, with three boaters onboard, and had activated emergency gear on board to signal its condition.

Carnival Valor Rescue
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The USCG received the emergency alert, and reached out to Carnival Valor as the nearest vessel able to assist the craft in distress. At the time, Carnival Valor was approximately 35 nautical miles (40 miles / 65 km) from the Snail Mail. An Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew was also mobilized.

Carnival Valor Rescue
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The Conquest-class cruise ship diverted slightly from its route to intercept the distressed craft. Carnival Valor was en route to its first port of call on the 5-night Western Caribbean itinerary, Costa Maya, where the ship will be docked on Monday, March 27.

A rescue boat – one of the cruise ship’s lifeboats – was launched, and the three boaters – all males from Honduras – were safely taken aboard and transferred to the cruise ship. They have received appropriate medical care, food, and water, and are reported in good condition.

“Special thanks to the crew of the Carnival Valor for rescuing all three people aboard the sinking vessel,” said Lt. j.g. Gretchen Gochnour, a command duty officer at the District Eight Command Center. “The Coast Guard urges the boating public to emulate the Snail Mail by having an EPIRB and geolocating devices onboard before taking to the sea.”

“Moreover, the Coast Guard encourages commercial mariners to participate in AMVER [automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue system] and self-report their location as this played a pivotal role in this rescue.”

Next Steps

Because the rescued boaters were taken aboard during a day at sea, they will remain aboard Carnival Valor until the ship calls on Costa Maya on Monday. The ship is scheduled to be in port from 1-8 p.m., during which time the boaters will be transferred to the appropriate authorities.

A statement from Carnival Cruise Line confirms “Carnival Valor’s itinerary is unaffected.” Current tracking data also shows the ship on course as planned for Costa Maya.

Carnival Valor Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: James Andrews1 / Shutterstock

After Costa Maya, the ship will visit Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday, before enjoying Wednesday as another day at sea and arriving back to New Orleans on Thursday, March 30.

This is not the first rescue or emergency situation that Carnival Valor has been involved with. In November 2022, the ship made worldwide headlines for an overboard passenger who was rescued by another craft after nearly a full day in the water.

The ship is homeported year-round from Louisiana, offering 4-5 night Western Caribbean cruises. The shorter sailings only visit Cozumel, while the longer cruises also include Costa Maya or Progreso, depending on the departure date.

The 110,000-gross-ton Carnival Valor joined the Carnival fleet in 2004. The ship has a guest capacity of 2,980 passengers at double occupancy, and up to 3,756 guests when fully booked with all berths filled. Approximately 1,200 international crew members are also onboard to offer excellent service.

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