An individual who went overboard from a Royal Caribbean ship was quickly rescued off the west coast of Spain on Sunday night, thanks to the fast actions of the ship’s crew. The incident occurred on Symphony of the Seas, on the first night of the ship’s repositioning sailing after ending her Mediterranean cruise season.
Guests onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas have reported the “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!” emergency call heard just after 11 p.m. on Sunday night, October 29, 2023.
This emergency call signifies a person overboard, and warrants immediate attention for all crew members. The Oasis-class ship began turning right away, and was diverted from its course for approximately one hour while the water was searched for the overboard individual.
Shortly afterward, the ship’s captain announced that the rescue had been successful and the individual was receiving appropriate care in the ship’s medical center. Their overall condition was not announced.
The incident happened approximately halfway between Barcelona and Valencia, Spain. Symphony of the Seas had departed Barcelona at 5 p.m., with Valencia as its first destination on the 14-night transatlantic cruise that will bring the ship to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the winter Caribbean season.
No details have been released about the person overboard, and it is unknown whether the individual is a guest onboard or a crew member. Similarly, the person’s age, gender, and other identifying details have not been released so as to safeguard everyone’s privacy at this difficult time.
The circumstances of the overboard are not yet known, but a full investigation will be held to determine how the incident happened and whether or not any safety violations are noted. Support will likely be offered both to the individual and others close to them if necessary.
Symphony of the Seas has arrived in Valencia as planned for her port-of-call visit on Monday, October 30, and there should be no impact on the remainder of the ship’s itinerary. As she crosses the Atlantic Ocean, the ship will also call on Cadiz, Spain and Nassau in the Bahamas before arriving in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
From Fort Lauderdale, the 228,018-gross-ton ship will offer a variety of Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries through early May 2024, at which time she will move to New York to offer Bahamas cruises from the Big Apple through October 2024.
Symphony of the Seas can welcome 5,518 guests aboard at double occupancy, or as many as 6,680 passengers when fully booked with all berths filled. Also onboard are approximately 2,200 international crew members.
Overboard incidents are not common on cruise ships considering the tens of thousands of travelers and crew members who safely sail each week, but such unfortunate events do happen.
In late July, a woman went overboard from Spectrum of the Seas while the ship was sailing to Singapore, and in April, an Australian man went overboard from Quantum of the Seas en route from Australia to Hawaii.
Overboard incidents are not limited to Royal Caribbean ships, of course. All cruise lines have needed to deal with such difficult incidents when sailing in any region of the world. Foul play, accidents, and intentional overboards all happen depending on individual circumstances and behaviors.
When an overboard is reported, emergency operations are immediately initiated onboard the ship, and the closest local authorities are notified for assistance as needed. Search efforts may continue for several hours or even days, depending on local conditions and the expectations of survival.
Fortunately, an extended search was not required in this instance, and Cruise Hive commends the quick actions of the crew aboard Symphony of the Seas that led to this successful rescue.
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