A somber event cast a shadow on Norwegian Pearl during the Lamb of God Headbangers Boat charter cruise, when a guest went overboard in the early hours of November 3, 2023. The incident unfolded as the ship sailed near the Bahamas, on its way back to Miami, Florida

A search for the missing passenger was quickly initiated. However, after a nine-hour search, the Captain of Norwegian Pearl was forced to cancel the search and rescue mission, and the vessel resumed her course to PortMiami. 

A 41-year-old male went overboard the Norwegian Pearl on Friday, November 3, as the vessel was making her way from Nassau to Port Miami. 

The alarming situation was promptly addressed by the ship’s crew as they initiated a search and rescue operation. 

A statement released by a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line to Rock Feed read: “On the early morning of Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, Norwegian Pearl was notified that a 41-year-old male guest went overboard while the ship was sailing near the Bahamas on its way to Miami.”

“The authorities have been notified and the United States Coast Guard search and rescue operation is underway. The investigation is ongoing, and we will share updates as appropriate. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Norwegian Pearl Cruise (Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock)

Norwegian Pearl, a 93,530 gross tons Jewel-class cruise ship with a capacity to accommodate 2,394 guests, set sail from Miami on October 31. The itinerary included a day at sea, a call to Nassau, Bahamas, followed by another day at sea, with a return to Miami scheduled for Saturday, November 4, 2023. 

The Headbangers Boat cruise was a special charter voyage, offering a unique blend of heavy metal music with the popular metal band Lamb of God as the headliner. The charter cruise was organized by Sixthman, which is in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line.

Frank Godla, CEO of MetalSucks and Metal Injection, provided a detailed account of the incident as it unfolded on board the Norwegian Pearl on the MetalSucks website. According to Godla, the vessel made a sharp turn around 3:30 AM, around the time that the passenger went overboard.

Approximately 20 minutes later, the ship’s captain informed the passengers of the distressing news that a guest had gone overboard, initiating a search and rescue mission. 

Frank Godla: “Around 3:30 a.m. I was woken up by some really choppy waters and the boat making a hard u-turn that left me wondering what’s going on. Roughly 20 minutes later, the captain made us aware a passenger went overboard and a search and rescue mission has begun.”

By around 6 AM, guests were informed that the scheduled program would be paused until 1 PM.

Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

The search for the missing passenger continued for around nine hours in total, after which the Captain decided to resume course to PortMiami. The inclement weather during the night of November 3, plus the limited visibility, made finding the passenger impossible. 

Read Also: What Happens During a Cruise Ship Overboard Alarm?

He recalled: “An hour ago, the captain had to make a very sad announcement to all onboard that after 9 hours of searching, they have no choice but to conclude the rescue mission and resume course to Miami.”

Despite the shocking events, guests onboard remained understanding of the situation and appreciated the actions taken by the Captain, the ship’s crew, and the festival organization. Norwegian Cruise Line and the United States Coast Guard are working together to uncover the details of the incident. 

Unfortunately, man-overboard situations happen routinely, be it because of foul play, an accident, or because of excessive alcohol abuse. While cruise ships have several safeguards to prevent accidents from happening, and ships perform extensive training on rescue responses, the fact of the matter is that the chances of surviving a fall from a cruise ship while at open sea are slim.

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