Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras was involved in a rescue operation involving a small stranded boat in the Bahamas. The cruise ship was requested to assist after the US Coast Guard received a distress call from the occupants of an unidentified vessel.
Mardi Gras had just departed her homeport Port Canaveral for an eight-day southern Caribbean cruise and was en route to the first port of call, Aruba.
Mardi Gras Steps Up
Early Monday morning, August 7, Mardi Gras once again stepped up and helped out a small sailbot in need just after 1:00 AM. While en route to Aruba, the cruise ship was requested to assist by the US Coast Guard after receiving a distress call and request for medical assistance.
Mardi Gras immediately changed course to participate in the search and rescue of a small boat approximately 30 nautical miles from Castle Island in the Bahamas.
After searching for the vessel for some two hours, the cruise ship released its fast rescue boat and one of its lifeboats, as demonstrated in pictures shared on social media.
The lifesaving intervention by the rescue teams onboard Mardi Gras led to the successful rescue of two US citizens who are now safely on board and receiving medical treatment.
No further information on their injuries or the nature of the medical emergency has been disclosed. An onboard announcement revealed that more details would be forthcoming on the subsequent sea day for Mardi Gras passengers.
Mardi Gras had just set sail from Port Canaveral and was heading south to the island of Aruba, where she is scheduled to arrive on August 8. Other ports of call during the eight-day cruise include Kralendijk, Bonaire, Grand Turk, and Turks and Caicos, before returning to Port Canaveral on August 13, 2023.
Mardi Gras‘ Rescues at Sea
The 180,800 gross tons Mardi Gras, which can carry 6,500 guests, is not a newcomer to rescue operations at sea. Since her maiden voyage on July 31, 2021, The cruise ship, the first LNG-powered cruise ship to sail for Carnival Cruise Line, has played a crucial role in several rescue operations.
On her first voyage, just two days after setting sail, Mardi Gras spotted an almost fully submerged vessel and initiated search operations for potential survivors. Although none were located, the ship dutifully reported the new wreck so that other mariners would know the potential hazard.
In late January 2022, Mardi Gras responded to a distress call from a stranded motorboat between Cuba and Mexico. While the occupants of the smaller vessel were not taken aboard the cruise ship – an action not mandated by maritime laws – Mardi Gras provided additional fuel and supplies to ensure their continued safety.
Furthermore, on June 3, 2022, the Carnival cruise ship rescued 16 individuals from another small boat near Cuba. This time, the refugees were brought aboard the cruise ship due to rough weather and heightened risk.
Observing SOLAS and Assisting Vessels in Distress
These operations show the mandates outlined in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which states that any vessel capable of providing aid to a ship in distress must do so.
The vital role of the US Coast Guard in coordinating such rescues also emphasizes the responsibility within the maritime community to ensure the safety of all at sea.
Of course, it’s not just Mardi Gras which has been involved in rescues. Due to their sailing areas between the Caribbean and Central American countries and the United States, cruise ships often encounter small makeshift boats with people trying their luck for a better future.
The Bahamas is another area where rescues often happen, with private sailing vessels encountering problems while sailing between the islands. And, in June of this year, a Princess cruise ship rescued 67 guests from an expedition vessel in Alaska.