Carnival Cruises has just been recognized with the Cruise Line Humanitarian Assistance Award for a cruise ship rescue during Hurricane Irma.
Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, gave the following statement about the rescue: “Words are not enough to express our immense pride and gratitude for Captain Gigliotti and the entire Carnival Elation team for placing their own lives at risk to save the life of another.
Captain Gaetano Gigliotti and the crew of the cruise ship Carnival Elation were honoured for their brave maritime rescue of a fishing boat during the storm.
Edward Potter of Tampa, Fla. was the rescued mariner who was reunited with Captain Gigliotti at the award ceremony this week.
Carnival Elation was undergoing a scheduled dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, and began monitoring a storm off the coast of Africa that quickly developed into a major Category 5 hurricane.
The ship was on route to seek shelter in the Gulf of Mexico when they received a distress message from the U.S. Coast Guard alerting them that a fishing boat, Captain Eddie, was taking on water approximately 60 nautical miles to the east.
Captain Eddie’s two crewmembers were in dire need of assistance so the Carnival Elation crew immediately set out to assist in the rescue, along with a plan for a helicopter assist from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The ship navigated through treacherous conditions, 15 to 20 foot waves and sustained winds of 40 knots gusting to 60 knots before receiving the news that the wind conditions were too dangerous for the helicopter assistance.
Captain Gigliotti’s three decades at sea enabled him to deem it too dangerous to allow a Carnival Elation rescue boat to pick up the fishermen.
He then made the executive decision to maneuver the ship closer to the life raft to facilitate a rescue through an open shell door in the hull.
Gigliotti successfully positioned the ship alongside the life raft, despite heavy seas, along with several team members as they all ignored the potential risk to their own lives.
The team brought the sole survivor, Edward Potter, on board using a harness and hoisting line.
Unfortunately however, Potter informed the team that his fellow crew member had refused to abandon ship and was lost when the fishing vessel rapidly sank.
Carnival Elation medical team took expert care of him whilst contacting his family members. They also coordinated with the U.S. Embassy to ensure his return to the US after the ship returned to the Bahamas.
Duffy continued to comment on the situation: “This rescue is a shining example of true heroism and we are honored that AFRAS has recognized Captain Gigliotti and the Carnival Elation team with this prestigious award.”
What do you think of Carnival’s heroic efforts? Have you heard of another cruise line team ever putting their own lives at risk to save the life of another in danger? Leave us your comments below…
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