Cruise ship rescues 24 people from sinking boat off the coast of Florida
Francesca Street, CNN
(CNN) — Cruise ships are mostly standing idle due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped one “ghost’ vessel jumping into action to rescue 24 people from a sinking boat.
Carnival Sensation, an 855-foot-long vessel that usually accommodates over 2,000 passengers, spotted the boat struggling in international waters 37 miles off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday, according to Carnival Cruise Line.
Carnival Sensation is one of hundreds of cruise ships currently operating with no passengers and a skeletal crew, in the wake of the Covid-19 shutdown of the cruise industry
In a statement, Carnival Cruise Line said its ship went to the aid of the sinking boat, providing supplies including blankets, life jackets, food and water to the passengers on board.
When the smaller boat started to take in water, the 24 passengers were rescued and brought on board the cruise ship.
Once on board, Carnival Sensation’s medical team looked over the rescued passengers, said the cruise line, and ensured they were quarantined away from crew members.
The passengers — reportedly of various nationalities and including two children — were later taken to shore by the US Coast Guard.
Most of the world’s cruise ships are currently out of action, sailing outside ports like Fort Lauderdale in Florida and Southampton in the UK, with limited crew keeping them on standby.
Some cruise ships have restarted their European itineraries, and in September the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry body that represents the world’s major cruise lines, announced a new set of health regulations for the return of cruising in the Americas.
But many major cruise lines have canceled all sailings through 2020.
According to the CDC’s recent extension of the No Sail Ban, four cruise ships in US waters have ongoing Covid outbreaks on board.
The CDC says there were 102 Covid-19 outbreaks on 124 different cruise ships through March 1 to September 28, 2020.
While cruising remains on pause, people living in some coastal regions are getting an unprecedented view in local waters.
In the UK, an enterprising local started a sightseeing tour to visit the “ghost” cruise ships moored off the southwest coast of England.
Paul Derham started the initiative back in the summer but plans to continue to take cruise fans out through the fall — weather permitting.