Carnival Mardi Gras Crew Honored for Rescuing 16 People at Sea

Carnival Cruise Line is no stranger to helping people in distress on the open water. Last week, the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) honored one triumphant rescue that saved 16 lives.

Carnival Mardi Gras at San Juan
Carnival Mardi Gras at San Juan (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

On June 3, 2022, the Carnival cruise ship Mardi Gras was sailing back to its homeport in Port Canaveral when its crew spotted a vessel that appeared to be in trouble near Cuba. It was stranded and struggling to avoid an approaching hurricane, threatening the lives of the 11 men and five women who were on it. 

Mardi Gras’ crew immediately rescued the people onboard. Led by Captain Niccolo De Ranieri, the crew transferred them to the Excellence-class vessel and offered them food, clothing, and medical evaluations. Crew members also arranged their transfer with the US Coast Guard.

Captain Niccolo de Ranieri and Captain Gaetano Gigliotti
Captain Niccolo de Ranieri and Captain Gaetano Gigliotti (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Though it’s been nearly two years since the incident, AFRAS’ Cruise Ship Humanitarian Assistance Award reminds us that the gesture hasn’t been forgotten. Captain De Ranieri and his crew received the recognition during the organization’s annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC. 

“Receiving this award is a humbling reminder of the responsibility we have as mariners. I’m proud of my team’s brave and coordinated efforts during this rescue,” acknowledged Captain De Ranieri. “It’s an honor to be recognized, and I’m thankful those 16 people were brought to safety.” 

Carnival’s 6 Successful Rescues at Sea in 2023

Carnival has been part of several rescue operations at sea, six of which occurred last year.

A massive Carnival Cruise Line ship out at sea.
(Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Rescue #1: In March 2023, Carnival Valor promptly changed course to rescue three men stranded on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rescue #2: A month later, Carnival Spirit came to the aid of 24 stranded people in the waters near the Dominican Republic. 

Rescue #3: Carnival Dream was instrumental in the rescue of 17 people whose boat capsized in the Belize Channel in May 2023.

Rescue #4: Mariner of the Seas saved a woman who had fallen overboard during its June 2023 cruise. Search and rescue efforts took place 31 miles from the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana, and the passenger didn’t sustain any serious injuries.

Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
(Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Rescue #5: Here’s another rescue courtesy of Mardi Gras… Last August, it rescued a couple 20 nautical miles from Castle Island, Bahamas. The medical team onboard administered life-saving treatment to the man who was in distress. 

Rescue #6: In a dramatic night-time rescue last December, Carnival Vista facilitated the rescue of six people whose cargo vessel overturned. 

In 2023 alone, the crews of Carnival Cruise Line were pivotal in saving the lives of 57 individuals.

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