The US Coast Guard has officially suspended search efforts in the Gulf of Mexico for the missing guest from Carnival Glory.
The guest was reported missing on Monday, November 13 and later confirmed overboard, but despite an exhaustive search and rescue effort with multiple air assets, crews were unsuccessful in locating the passenger.
Search Suspended for Carnival Glory Guest
A 28-year-old male guest from Carnival Glory, identified as Tyler Barnett of Houma, Louisiana, was reported missing on the afternoon of November 13, and after emergency operations failed to locate him onboard the cruise ship, the US Coast Guard (USCG) was alerted to begin a search. That notification was received at approximately 12:40 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
That search has now ended as the USCG has suspended efforts without success, despite covering approximately 5,625 square miles (14,570 square kilometers) of search area, an extraordinarily broad search zone roughly larger than the state of Connecticut.
#UPDATE The Coast Guard suspends search for missing cruise ship passenger. Coast Guard crews searched approximately 5,625 square miles, roughly larger than the size of Connecticut.More here, https://t.co/OTkz54zRlr— USCG Heartland (@USCGHeartland) November 16, 2023
“The Coast Guard launched multiple search and rescue assets as soon as we were notified of a missing passenger from the Carnival Glory,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sean DiGeorge, Coast Guard District Eight search and rescue mission coordinator.
“Our crews battled severe weather conditions for multiple days and made every effort to find Mr. Barnett. Suspending an active search is never a decision we make lightly, and we offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Barnett’s family and friends.”
The search area was so large, covering roughly 200 miles of the ship’s route, because initially it was not known what area to search, as the time of Barnett’s disappearance was not immediately clear.
US Coast Guard Search of Missing Carnival Passenger
A review of security footage from the cruise ship did finally determine that Barnett had gone overboard at approximately midnight between Sunday and Monday, which allowed the search area to become more focused.
Search assets involved in the operation included HC-130 Hercules aircrews from Air Station Clearwater, Florida; HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrews from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama; and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Air Station New Orleans.
An alert was also issued to all marine craft near the search area to keep a lookout for the missing passenger, ultimately to no avail.
Weather Hampered Search Efforts
Rough weather in the search area, including gale force winds and significant waves, forced search efforts to be paused overnight Monday and again overnight Tuesday when visibility became inadequate for efficient searching and too hazardous for the aircraft to continue. The search was resumed as soon as crews could safely do so.
The poor weather would also impact the probable survivability of an individual in the water, which can contribute to the decision to suspend search efforts.
Carnival Glory Cruise Ship (Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive)
Carnival Glory is currently sailing a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise, having departed New Orleans on Sunday, November 12, with port visits to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.
The 110,000-gross-ton, Conquest-class ship’s itinerary has not been affected by this incident, and the vessel will return to New Orleans on Sunday, November 19, as scheduled.
Overboards Rarely End With Good Results
Unfortunately, while search efforts are always made in earnest, they are not always successful.
The USCG also suspended search efforts this week for a crew member overboard from MSC Cruises’ MSC Seascape near Puerto Rico, also without success. That search ended much more quickly as the area searched was able to be narrowed much sooner than in the case of Carnival Glory.
In incidents when an overboard is noted quickly and a response can be immediate, it is must more likely that an individual in danger can be found with a positive result.