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On October 22, 2023, a tragic incident unfolded as the cruise ship AIDAperla was navigating off the coast of Kent, England, near/northeast of Ramsgate. The ship reported that a male crew member was missing and presumed to have gone overboard. Despite extensive search and rescue efforts by HM Coastguard, the RNLI, and the ship’s crew, the operation did not yield the crew member’s body.
Details of the Incident
The alarm was raised when the ship reported the crew member’s disappearance to HM Coastguard at approximately 9 AM BST (8 AM UTC). In response, HM Coastguard initiated a search and rescue operation, deploying a rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard Airbase in Lydd, supported by a Beechcraft King Air fixed-wing plane. The RNLI also dispatched lifeboats from Ramsgate and Dover to assist in the search efforts.
The ship’s Master, Captain Boris Becker, made an announcement to passengers via the PA system at 10:45 AM (9:45 UTC), notifying them of the overboard incident. AIDAperla promptly altered its course and proceeded to the designated search area, located approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from its current position. The ship arrived at the search area around 1:30 PM (12:30 UTC) and conducted search operations for approximately one hour.
Unfortunately, despite the concerted efforts, HM Coastguard called off the search and rescue operation at approximately 6:30 PM (17:30 UTC), and the crew member’s body was not recovered.
The incident occurred at the outset of a 9-day voyage from Hamburg to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with an itinerary spanning from October 20 to October 29. The cruise included scheduled stops in Spain, with visits to La Coruna on October 23 and Vigo on October 24, as well as calls at the Canary Islands, including Arrecife Lanzarote on October 27, Rosario Fuerteventura on October 28, and Las Palmas Gran Canaria on October 29.