After several days of intense effort, the search has been suspended for a passenger who jumped overboard from Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras on Saturday, April 16. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed suspending the search on Monday, April 18, and has extended condolences to the man’s family and friends.
Search Suspended for Missing Passenger
The initial call of a passenger overboard was received at 1:15 a.m. on April 16, approximately 63 miles east of Melbourne, Florida, and approximately 55 miles southeast of Port Canaveral. The male passenger, later identified as 43-year-old Tang Tran, reportedly jumped overboard.
After searching for 58 hours with three cutters and an aircrew involved in the operation, the U.S. Coast Guard officially suspended the search Monday evening, April 18. The overall search area covered approximately 2,058 square miles.
“This evening I made the difficult decision to suspend the search for Mr. Tran,” said Captain Mark Vlaun, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. “We are grateful to Carnival for the swift response and support to the family. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Tran’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Mardi Gras‘ crew initiated the search as well as calling for assistance from the Coast Guard. Information was relayed to appropriate marine and air rescue assets, including the nearby Carnival Elation, which also assisted in the search. Both cruise ships were released from search operations shortly thereafter and continued back to Port Canaveral.
“The ship’s crew participated in search and rescue efforts until the ship was released by the U.S. Coast Guard, which continues the search. The Carnival Care Team is supporting the guest’s family,” a statement from Carnival Cruise Line read at the time. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and his family.”
Mardi Gras Slightly Delayed
Because of the ship’s involvement with the search operations, Mardi Gras was slightly delayed in returning to Port Canaveral at the end of its 7-night Eastern Caribbean voyage.
This required a one-hour delay for passengers embarking on the next voyage, a 7-night Western Caribbean sailing visiting Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan. No changes were necessary for the ship’s overall itinerary or ports of call.
It is a sad fact that man overboard incidents do happen from cruise ships, and this incident – while the first for Mardi Gras – is not the first from a Carnival Cruise ship this year.
A male passenger jumped from Carnival Horizon on March 16, near Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands. That man was found during the search operation, but he had passed away.
A female passenger jumped overboard from her balcony stateroom aboard Carnival Valor on February 16, approximately 150 miles offshore South West Pass in Louisiana. The search was later suspended.
Other cruise lines also have these incidents. A passenger deliberately jumped overboard Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady on March 31, off the coast of Portugal.
MSC Cruises and Princess Cruises have both been involved with overboard incidents in the past year as well.
These incidents are always difficult for not only the immediate families and friends of those overboard, but also for other passengers and crew members. Cruise lines have onboard care representatives and counselors available to assist in these situations, and work hard to offer support to everyone.
Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with all affected passengers and crew members, as well as their friends and family members, during these sad and difficult times.