Tourism & Cruises

Coast Guard suspends search for overboard Carnival Cruise Line crew member near Cuba

Carnival Victory on an early voyage in 2000 with a much more sparse downtown Miami skyline in the background.
Carnival Victory on an early voyage in 2000 with a much more sparse downtown Miami skyline in the background. Associated Press

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Sunday afternoon that it has stopped searching for the Carnival Victory crew member who went overboard Thursday.

“We’ve been in contact with the crew member’s family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult time for them,” said Michael Mullen, search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard’s Seventh District. “Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”

The Coast Guard said it covered 2,600 nautical square miles during the 45 hours it searched for the crew member, who went overboard about 30 miles northwest of Cuba.

A person who identified himself as Mohammad Shoukat Satvilkar, a resident of India, told the Miami Herald in a Twitter direct message that the 37-year-old crew member was his brother, Gaffar Satwilkar. So far, neither the Coast Guard nor Carnival has identified the crew member.

The Victory was coming from Cozumel to PortMiami to end a four-day cruise.

Sunday evening the cruise line issued a statement in response to the Coast Guard’s announcement: “The entire Carnival family mourns the loss of one of our crew members and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and colleagues who are being supported and assisted by members of Carnival’s Care Team.

“We would like to also take this opportunity to thank the United States Coast Guard for leading these efforts.”

The Carnival Glory rescued a Norwegian Cruise Line crew member in July 2018 after the man had spent at least 22 hours treading water. He fell overboard from the Norwegian Getaway the day before.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.