Carnival Spirit arrived in Fiji today after the tragic loss of a staff member led to a sea search and the cancellation of at least one port visit.
The ship was travelling from New Caledonia to Vanuatu on Tuesday when an unidentified crew member failed to report for his shift in the galley.
Staff conducted an extensive onboard search before turning back around to start a sea search.
On Wednesday morning New Caledonian Search and Rescue Authority spokesperson said due to poor weather there was “literally nil” chance of finding the crew member. Carnival Spirit was given permission to continue on its 12-night Pacific Islands and Fiji cruise.
Passengers have logged onto the line’s Facebook page to show their support and compliment the crew on their efforts during the distressing time.
“Yes it means we miss one of our ports, however, on a scale of things that is nothing compared to the loss of a life,” one Facebook user said.
“The crew and Captain all need to be commended on how they have kept us up to date as much as they can.”
Another passenger said the situation was heart breaking, while one guest thanked crew for keeping them regularly updated during the search.
“The staff and crew are still going about their job and although no doubt putting on brave faces for us passengers, they are deeply saddened by this and they are doing a great job.”
Fairfax Media, however, reported one passenger sent an email to the Australian government and and their newsroom expressing concern over the missing crew member.
The unidentified passenger urged the Australian government to help find the missing crew member.
“Our cruise liner is the only search-and-rescue operation looking for him,” she said.
New Caledonian authorities, however, said they had sent a navy plane to search the area for four hours early Wednesday morning. Bad weather and the large search zone made it impossible to find the Carnival employee.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said they couldn’t assist with the incident because it was outside of Australia’s search and rescue zone.
A Carnival spokesperson told Cruise Passenger the line is deeply concerned for the team member unaccounted for.
A Care team from the cruise line is assisting the crew member’s family at this difficult time.