Cruise Ship

Norwegian Pearl

Incident Type

Passenger Missing (Overboard)

Date of Accident

November 3, 2023

Location of Accident

Off Kent, England's Coast

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On November 3, 2023, a distressing incident unfolded as a 41-year-old male passenger went overboard from a cruise ship en route from The Bahamas back to Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard initiated a search and rescue operation, but the man could not be found. The incident occurred during a themed cruise, casting a shadow on what should have been an enjoyable voyage for fans of thrash and heavy metal music.

Details of the Incident

The incident occurred on November 3, 2023, during a 4-day “Headbangers Boat Cruise,” which took place from October 31 to November 4. Departing from Miami, Florida, the cruise featured a visit to Nassau on November 2nd.

The distressed event unfolded when the ship reported a passenger overboard while navigating off the coast of Kent, England. The U.S. Coast Guard, alerted at approximately 9 AM BST (8 AM UTC), promptly launched a search and rescue operation. The operation included a rescue helicopter from HM Coastguard Airbase in Lydd, supported by a Beechcraft King Air fixed-wing plane. Lifeboats from Ramsgate and Dover, dispatched by the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), also participated in the search efforts.

The ship’s Master, Captain Boris Becker, informed passengers of the overboard situation via the PA system at 10:45 AM local time (9:45 UTC). The vessel immediately changed course, heading towards the search area located approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) from its current position. AIDAperla, another ship in the vicinity, arrived to assist in the search at 1:30 PM (12:30 UTC).

Despite exhaustive search efforts spanning several hours, HM Coastguard called off the operation at around 6:30 PM (17:30 UTC), and the missing passenger could not be located. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance remain a mystery.

Operational Context

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 port calls in Spain, specifically La Coruna and Vigo, before proceeding to the Canary Islands with visits to Arrecife Lanzarote, Rosario Fuerteventura, and Las Palmas Gran Canaria.

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