Carnival’s handling of the most recent disappearance of a person overboard, a chef from India, has been a mess.
The Carnival Spirit is in violation of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act. Like all other Carnival cruise ships, the Carnival Spirit has no automatic CCTV man overboard system onboard. The technology exists for overboard passengers and crew members to be immediately detected so that search and rescue efforts can be promptly initiated. There’s no excuse at this late date for lack of such standard equipment.
Even when the ship personnel finally realized that the crew member had gone overboard, the master of the ship waited an unreasonably long period of time to search for the overboard crew member.
In the Sydney Morning Herald article entitled Australian Cruise Passengers ‘Frightened, Concerned’ on Cruise Ship, a passenger on the ship said that an announcement was made at about 9.30 AM on Tuesday that a crew member had gone missing but the cruise ship did not turn around until about 2 PM.
The Australian newspaper reports that a passenger sent a "desperate email" to the government asking for help, saying that "everyone I have spoken to is frightened, concerned, anxious about where we’re going and very confused."
The passenger complained "there are no planes, no helicopters, no nothing – just our cruise boat going at five kilometres an hour."
Not surprisingly the New Caledonia Search and Rescue Authority declared the chances of finding the missing crew member were ”literally nil.”
It’s not the first time people have gone overboard from the Carnival Spirit. Paul Rossington and his girlfriend Kristen Schroder fell off the ship last year.
Carnival Australia’s CEO Ann Sherry was rather cavalier about that incident. She said, without qualification, “you can’t fall off the ship.”
Even if that’s true, that’s little consolation for the crew member’s family. That leaves two alternatives – being a victim of a crime (it wouldn’t be the first time that someone was pitched overboard), or committing suicide (which is the cruise line’s favorite excuse). But because the ship does’t even have CCTV of the incident (much less man overboard technology), the case is doomed to be another mystery.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet