A person (either a cruise guest or crew member) is presumed to have gone overboard from the Golden Princess according to a passenger on the Princess cruise ship.
Shortly after 6:15 p.m. EST today (10:15 a.m. Tuesday, January 22 – Australia time), a cruise passenger from Adelaide, Australia posted the following information on Twitter:
The Golden Princess cruise ship currently returning to Melbourne from New Zealand has a missing person, presumed overboard. All cabins searched in the middle of the night and again this morning. Ship is giving up search and returning to Melbourne with permission from AU Gov
— It's a disgrace (@thus9) January 21, 2019
AIS data show the Golden Princess sailing toward Melbourne, Australia at the moment. It appears that the person went overboard last night in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia. The poster explains that the Princess cruise ship searched for the missing person last night and earlier this morning.
It is currently unknown whether the person is a guest or crew member, or how or exactly when the person went overboard from the cruise ship. It remains to be seen whether the Golden Princess was equipped with an automatic man overboard (MOB) system which would have automatically sent a signal to the bridge if someone went over the rails and track them in the water even at night via state-of-the-art motion detection / infrared and radar technology. Reliable systems available to the cruise line include the MARSS MOBtronic and PureTech systems, among others.
It is always a telling sign for a cruise line like Princess to be searching the cruise ship and reviewing CCTV film to look for the missing passenger. In such cases, the overboard person has usually been in the water long before he was eventually reported missing. Eventually the person may be seen in a snippet of film going overboard but the ship has sailed on for many dozens of miles when the officers finally review the CCTV. Valuable time is inevitably lost due to the failure to install an auto MOB system.
The Golden Princess left Adelaide, Australia on January 7th for Kangaroo Island and Melbourne, Australia; and then to seven ports in New Zealand (Fjordland National Park, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, and Auckland, New Zealand – on January 19th) and was then scheduled to return to Melbourne, Australia on January 23rd and Adelaide, Australia on January 25th.
The last overboard from a Princess cruise ship occurred in May of last year from the Pacific Sun which departed from Fremantle, Australia; a passenger went overboard when the ship was approximately 100 nautical miles southeast of Singapore.
According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, 334 people have gone overboard since 2000.
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January 21, 2019 Update: A newspaper in Australia reports that the overboard person is a 22 year old male passenger. Princess says that it is searching on the ship and looking at CCTV images.
Photo credit: Jean-Philippe Boulet, CC BY 3.0, commons / wikimedia.