A beautiful day at a highly rated private island in the Bahamas could have become a tragic event if not for the actions of an MSC Cruises officer from MSC Meraviglia. A woman fell between the dock and the cruise ship, but the officer jumped into the water to assist her and help her stay calm and reach the rescue team.
Both the guest and the officer are safe and the ship’s itinerary was not impacted by what could have been a very distressing incident.
Frightening Moments at Ocean Cay
One family has a great deal to be thankful for as tragedy was averted at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve on Thanksgiving Day – November 23, 2023.
According to Crew Center, while debarking MSC Meraviglia for a visit to the island as part of an 8-night Bahamas cruise, a woman accidentally fell into the water between the cruise ship and the dock as her children and husband were shocked nearby.
Immediately, Officer Giuseppe Ruocco jumped into the water to offer assistance to the woman. He helped keep her calm and keep her head above water as the pair moved along the dock to the aft of the ship, where there was sufficient space for the rescue team to react with lifesaving gear.
The ship’s emergency man overboard signal was used and onboard teams quickly responded, ensuring adequate help to assist the woman, manage the crowd, and keep the situation under control.
The whole incident only took a few minutes, but they are sure to have been distressing ones for everyone involved. As Ruocco and the woman were helped to safety, the crowd – and the ship’s captain – offered lengthy applause for Ruocco’s heroism and the successful rescue.
There are no details available as to how the woman fell into the water, whether she had ventured too close to the dock’s edge or slipped in some other way. An investigation is likely to be held to be sure such incidents can be avoided in the future.
MSC Meraviglia had departed from New York on Sunday, November 19 for the 8-night cruise, and Ocean Cay was the ship’s second port of call, after a visit to Miami on Wednesday, November 22. The ship visited Nassau the following day – Friday, November 24 – and will spend two days at sea returning to New York.
The 171,598-gross-ton ship can welcome 4,428 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 5,642 travelers when fully booked with all berths filled. Because of the holiday week, it is likely the passenger count aboard was closer to full at the time of the incident.
Also onboard are more than 1,500 international crew members, including Ruocco.
Heroic Act Recognized
In recognition of Ruocco’s act of bravery, MSC Cruises HR leaders all received notification of the incident to share with crew members, exemplifying the cruise line’s values and commitment to care for guests as well as the MSC Cruises’ family.
“Today at Meraviglia’s port of call at Ocean Cay, a guest accidentally fell into water between the ship and dock and without a second thought, our Training Officer Giuseppe Ruocco jumped into the water to help the distressed guest. Man overboard signal was given and our fully trained team was present in no time to help the guest out of water,” the statement read.
“We wish our guest a speedy recovery as the incident was controlled in just a couple of minutes because of Giuseppe’s brave reaction in no time. He risked his life to save a life. Giuseppe proudly resonates the MSC Value ‘We CARE for our people.'”
Ruocco’s commendation is well deserved, as the incident could undoubtedly had a much worse outcome. Now, the family involved as well as everyone aboard MSC Meraviglia was able to have a very Happy Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.