Since Sunday morning, the Salvamento Marítimo has been searching for a middle-aged woman who was seen falling into the sea early Sunday morning from a cruise ship 75 miles off Mallorca.
The cruise ship, Azamara Quest, made a report to the Spanish authorities around 2 AM Sunday. Two helicopters, the coast guard vessel Concepción Arenal, and the cruise ship in question joined in the search, which has proven unsuccessful.
Woman Overboard Nearby Mallorca
A middle-aged woman was seen going overboard from a cruise ship sailing 75 miles off the coast of the Spanish island of Mallorca early on Sunday morning.
The Azamara Quest made a report to the Spanish authorities around 2 AM, which sparked a frantic search and rescue attempt that, so far, has not yielded any results.
Azamara Quest had just sailed from homeport Barcelona when the incident happened. After the initial report, two helicopters joined in the search and a coast guard vessel.
A spokesperson for the Salvamento Marítimo, the Spanish coast guard, said the following in a statement posted on its Twitter account:
“Today at 2am, the cruise liner Azamara Quest has informed our centre in Palma about a person who had fallen into the water 75 miles off Majorca. All night our helicopters Helimer 206 and 223 have been searching for her in an operation which has also involved the cruise ship and our vessel Concepcion Arenal.”
The woman, who has yet to be identified, was not found in the search, and Azamara Quest has since resumed course and docked in Malaga, Spain.
Why the woman went overboard and whether it was intentional or accidental, remains unclear. At the time, the weather conditions in the Mediterranean were relatively calm, with no significant weather systems nearby.
Azamara Quest is currently operating an 8-day cruise that includes stops in Malaga, Cadiz, Valencia, Spain, and Casablanca, Morocco. The vessel is due back in Barcelona on June 11.
Whether the incident will further impact the cruise is unclear. Typically with a man-overboard situation, the authorities conduct a full investigation before clearing the vessel to sail again.
Azamara Only Recently Returned to Full-Service Capacity
The news about a guest comes as a shock for the Azamara cruise line. The company recently celebrated the return to service of all its cruise ships, including its newest cruise ship, Azamara Onward.
Azamara Quest was the first Azamara cruise ship to return to service in September of 2021, sailing from Pireaus, Greece. The former Renaissance Cruises ship was acquired by Azamara in 2007 and first sailed for the cruise line in October of that year. The 30,277 gross tons cruise ship has space for 686 guests and 408 crew members.
Royal Caribbean sold Azamara to New York-based Sycamore Partners for $201 million during the pandemic. The cruise line recently opened its Miami-based headquarters.
Several Incidents in the Last Months
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for guests to go overboard from a cruise ship. The incident onboard Azamara Quest follows a string of incidents in the last few months.
During the final day of Valiant Lady’s cruise to the Canary Islands in March of this year, a passenger went overboard intentionally in the early hours of March 31 off the Portuguese coast.
On April 16, a man went overboard from the Carnival Cruise ship Mardi Gras. The vessel was en route to its homeport of Port Canaveral when crew members reported a man overboard at approximately 1:00 AM, 55 miles off Port Canaveral, Florida. Here as well, the man went overboard intentionally.
A few weeks ago, Celebrity Solstice reported a 40-year-old woman who went overboard during a cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage. A report was made at 3 a.m. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. The search was unsuccessful and suspended nine hours later.
While cruise ships have extensive safety measures in place, the chances of rescuing or finding someone that goes overboard while the ship is sailing are minimal. The turbulence of the ship’s wake, combined with waves and often darkness, makes it nearly impossible to spot anyone in time.