Carnival captain honoured with award for saving 16 lives at sea

Carnival Cruise Line Captain Niccolo De Ranieri and his team on Mardi Gras were honoured April 9 by the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) for saving the lives of 16 people.

Ranieri accepted the Cruise Ship Humanitarian Assistance Award at the AFRAS annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., an event that recognizes heroism at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, merchant mariners and cruise ship personnel.

Captain De Ranieri was at the helm as Mardi Gras was returning to its homeport, Port Canaveral, Fla., on June 3, 2022 when the crew spotted a stranded vessel carrying eleven men and five women in rough seas near Cuba. In very challenging conditions, as the ship was navigating away from an approaching hurricane, the Mardi Gras team took the 16 stranded people on board for their safety where they were evaluated by the ship’s medical staff and provided food and clothing as a safe transfer with the U.S. Coast Guard was coordinated.

“Receiving this award is a humbling reminder of the responsibility we have as mariners. I’m proud of my team’s brave and coordinated efforts during this rescue,” said Captain De Ranieri. “It’s an honour to be recognized, and I’m thankful those 16 people were brought to safety.”

It is a maritime custom to help anyone in distress at sea. In 2023, Carnival teams completed six separate rescues, helping to bring 57 stranded people to safety.