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 Carnival Spiritwaited 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

  • CHRISTEEN Rossington
    Please sign our petition to force the hand of Cruise Lines to implement Man Overboard Systems.
    Don’t allow this to happen to another single person.
    Don’t put money before lives.

  • Marianne Fearnside

    Please also sign our petition to have CCTV cameras installed on the passenger decks of ferries.

  • Danielle Dunlop

    We miss you Paul

  • Ben

    I was a passenger on-board this ship at the time of the incident.
    Mr Walker’s comment on automatic camera man overboard technology would appear to make perfect sense.
    However, CCTV and automatic man overboard tag systems are two entirely separate things. His comments are misleading.

    I would also agree with Carnival CEO Ann Sherry’s comment that “you can’t fall off the ship”. The guard rails are very high. In fact higher than the required safety standard. I had two of my young children on-board with me. Aged 5 and 2. I would have been more concerned about them tripping down a staircase than falling overboard. You would have to be seriously acting like a dick, assisting your own demise or having someone else throw you over.

    This is where Mr Walker’s argument is unqualified. He is a lawyer, I was a member of the Australian Navy for over 10 years. NO ONE (or vessel) could reasonably man every camera on board a vessel 24 hrs a day.

    As for “tag” type systems. If you were intent on ending your life would you be wearing one? If you were intent on the demise of another person would you leave theirs on? If you were a crew member, are you likely to be drunk or stupid enough to climb a guard rail? Well maybe, but this is where your responsibility starts and everyone else cannot be there to wipe your arse for you.

    The couple who “fell” off the ship last year were acting (however tragic) in gross negligence of their own safety. i.e. Climbing outside the guard rails of their cabin in order to visit friends and family in another cabin.

    As for the passenger who emailed the media, what a prize arsehole (Australian spelling). And may I add UNQUALIFIED TO COMMENT on the happenings of the day. Panic merchant drama queen. NO ONE I came across that day looked “frightened”. Many were understandably concerned for another individual’s well-being in this type of situation. MOST were oblivious to the situation. The ship noticeably slowed in the morning, I would imagine, after the Tongan (not Indian) assistant cook did not show at his muster. If every ship in the world stopped dead imediately for every no-show for a muster, the world would stop. Imagine the cost of everything we imported or exported.

    As an ex serving member of the Navy, I observed nothing but professionalism in the conduct of the crew and staff of this vessel. I was actually impressed with the calm and controlled pipes (broadcasts) and mustering in every instance that I observed. This ship and her crew made every action that I would have expected… from my limited experience. Feel free to email me to discuss the facts rather than media hype and sensation.

  • anna furnar

    In all fairness to the staff onboard they only found out when he was to go to work that he was not their and a search was conducted of the full ship in and out before turning around and we were told that the captain was intouch with head office about the incident the child missing was also an 18 year old who didn’t hear his name called over the pa.

  • publisher

    What the greater public don’t know is that the cruise lines representative in Vanuatu refused communications with the local vanuatu police and in fact there was no officicial notification made to the Vanuatu police ….

  • Jb

    I took a cruise on the Spirit earlier in the year and did the behind the scenes tour.
    There was an infrared system on board that monitored the entire outside perimeter of the ship. My understanding was that it instantly picks up any one falling overboard & their body heat image can be seen on screen if in the water.
    Isn’t this a ”man overboard” system?