Carnival Cruise Line is known for being the “Fun Ships,” complete with an instantly recognizable funnel that sets their fleet apart from anything else on the ocean. To some people stranded at sea, however, that funnel means something much more than a vacation.
Following the announcement of helping 17 people on a capsized boat near Belize earlier this week, Carnival has aided in the rescue of 44 people stranded at sea just in 2023 alone. This figure comes according to press releases shared by the company and may not even include every rescue in which its ships have been involved.
With hundreds of cruise ships crisscrossing the ocean, you might think that rescues at sea are commonplace. While they do happen occasionally, the likelihood of any specific cruise encountering others at sea that need assistance is relatively low.
For example, with roughly two dozen ships in its fleet and hundreds — if not thousands — of cruises sailed so far this year, Carnival has announced three individual rescues. This includes:
- On May 17, Carnival Dream assisted in a rescue of 17 people near Belize after the boat they were in capsized. The ship lowered one of its tenders to assist the mariners, who were reported in good condition.
- On April 11, Carnival Spirit rescued 24 in a small boat stranded at sea near the Dominican Republic. The two dozen people were checked by the ship’s medical staff and then transferred to the Coast Guard.
- On March 26, Carnival Valor rescued three people adrift in the Gulf of Mexico after the U.S. Coast Guard requested assistance. Valor was said to be about 35 miles away and changed course to assist. On the scene, one of the ship’s lifeboats was used to bring the stranded mariners to the cruise ship.
All told, that adds up to dozens of people helped when a passing Carnival ship was in the area.
But helping these people on the ocean isn’t just the moral thing to do. Many passengers may not realize that United States and international law call for those at sea to render aid in many circumstances.
According to U.S. federal law, “A master or individual in charge of a vessel shall render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost, so far as the master or individual in charge can do so without serious danger to the master’s or individual’s vessel or individuals on board.”
The same law is also part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Given the remoteness of the open ocean, the rules are a necessity when the nearest help can be miles away.
Law or not, rescuing those stranded at sea is simply the right thing to do… even if it means a slight detour on a vacation.