On November 19 last year, Carnival Ecstasy responded to an emergency call from a small yacht off the Bahamas coast. A 29-year old crew member on board a yacht suffered severe injuries. With the vessel close to the boat Captain Domenico Calise and the crew of the Carnival Ecstasy were quick to take action and perform a rescue operation.
That rescue operation prompted the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) to honor the Captain and crew of Carnival Ecstasy at this year’s annual ceremony on Capitol Hill. It is recognition for the work and care that crew members and officers onboard ships have towards each other in a line of work that still has its risks.
Carnival Ecstasy Receives Rescue at Sea Award
“Balista,” a private yacht with a crew member who was suffering severe injuries, called in a mayday. It was just four nautical miles separating the Carnival Ecstasy from the vessel when the mayday was picked up. Even though the ship had suspended operations due to the pandemic, Captain Domenico Calise and the ship’s crew immediately responded.
At the time, Carnival Cruise Line provided Cruise Hive with footage when the Coast Guard met with the vessel to evacuate the crew member, you can watch below:
With 30-knot winds, it took a complex operation to bring the severely injured 29-year old crew member onboard the ship and towards the vessel’s hospital. After initial treatment onboard the Fantasy-class ship, the person was evacuated by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter for medical care ashore. The COVID-19 protocols made the rescue operation even more difficult.
The complicated and dangerous rescue operation did not go unnoticed by experts from the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS). The crew and Captain of the vessel have now been recognized by the association on November 2 in Washington D.C. for the critical part they played in performing a complex rescue operation.
The rescue operation that Carnival Ecstasy performed in November of last year does not stand alone. In the previous years, and even before that time, Carnival Cruise Line has been involved in multiple rescue operations that saved many lives.
Only one month before Ecstasy’s rescue operation Carnival Sensation saved 24 people on a small boat off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. The small vessel with people from various countries on board, including two children, took on water and was in danger of sinking. Carnival Sensation’s crew members provided much-needed blankets, life jackets, food, and water.
Carnival Horizon came to the rescue of seven fishermen on a small boat in June of 2019, which was adrift off the coast of Haiti in the Caribbean. The month before that, Carnival Paradise rescued a sailor from a sinking boat near Cozumel, and Carnival Fantasy saved a total of 23 people who were adrift at sea on a damaged boat in the Caribbean in April of 2019.
Under the Safety Of Life At Sea agreements (SOLAS), mariners are required to assist any vessel in distress:
The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance on receiving information from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance if possible, informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so.
With the award Carnival Ecstasy’s Captain and Crew have received now from the Association for Rescue at Sea, they can rest assured that their efforts have not only saved lives but that years of training have paid off.