Carnival Cruise Line’s ships may not currently have paying customers aboard, but at least one took on a few unexpected guests this weekend.
Honoring a maritime tradition to provide assistance to distressed mariners, Carnival Sensation came to the rescue of a small boat in distress on Saturday morning.
Stranded Sailors Rescued, Quarantined
The vessel in question was sailing in international waters 37 miles off the coast of Palm Bay, Florida. For reference, international waters start 12 nautical miles off the coast.
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Upon seeing the boat in the water, Carnival Sensation maneuvered alongside the craft in order to provide blankets, life jackets, food and water to the 24 people on board which included individuals from various nationalities and two children.
Shortly after, the boat began taking on water. As a result, the crew onboard Carnival Sensation quickly made arrangements for the smaller ship to be evacuated and her passengers to board the cruise liner.
After being evaluated by the Sensation’s medical team, the 24 people were quarantined away from the crew.
In a statement, Carnival Cruise Line said, “All appropriate authorities, including the United States Coast Guard (USCG), were notified and the USCG dispatched a cutter to the scene to retrieve the 24 individuals. Carnival Cruise Line is currently in a pause in its operations with ships at minimum non-operational manning status with limited crew members and no guests on board.”
International Maritime law states that the captain of the vessel has a moral obligation to render assistance to those in distress at sea without regard to their nationality, status, or the circumstances in which they are found.
According to the vessel-tracking website MarineTraffic, Carnival Sensation was sailing on the western end of Grand Bahama Island as of Saturday evening.
Sensation is one of 22 ships in Carnival Cruises Line’s fleet, all of which are currently in a holding pattern. This has been the case since the Centers for Disease Control issued a no-sail order back in March. The original order has been extended several times and is now slated to expire as of October 31.
However, Carnival — as well as several other cruise lines — made the decision last week to voluntarily suspend operations until the end of November.
That said, Arnold Donald — president of Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line — has repeatedly said that he still holds out hope the ships might return by the end of the year.
Should that happen, the plan would involve a limited number of ships sailing out of Florida ports. They would be sailing with a reduced capacity when it comes to the number of guests and with health protocols, recently submitted to the CDC for approval, in place.
Over time, other ships and ports would join the slow roll-out.
Video Tour of Carnival Sensation