Captain Gaetano Gigliotti of Carnival Elation and his crew have received the Cruise Line Humanitarian Assistance Award. The organization that distributed the award, the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS), is an organization dedicated to giving worldwide assistance to volunteer maritime rescue services and honoring extraordinary maritime rescues.
Captain Gigliotti and his team rescued a stranded fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Irma in 2017. The Carnival Elation captain and crew not only received an award, but also a framed copy of the entry into the Congressional Record by Florida Congresswoman Federica Wilson.
The man rescued, Edward Potter of Tampa, Florida, met with Captain Gigliotti at AFRAS’ annual reception in Washington DC.
The stranded fishing boat was originally undergoing a scheduled dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas. The over 60,000-ton ship was moved to the Gulf of Mexico after it became apparent that a major Category 5 hurricane was projected to pass directly over the Bahamas.
The U.S. Coast Guard sent out a distress message to Carnival Elation. They alerted the Carnival ship that a fishing boat, Captain Eddie, needed assistance. The U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter to assist the search and rescue efforts.
Captain Gigliotti maneuvered his ship near the life raft to facilitate a rescue via an open shell door in the hull. Gigliotti and his team took in Edward Potter, the only survivor.
Potter said his fellow crew members refused to leave. Carnival Elation provided medical care for the stranded survivor.