Yesterday. I received information from a Cruise Law News reader that a man went overboard from the M/V Horizon operated by Croiseires de France between the Dominican Republic and St. Maarten.
Today a newspaper in St. Maarten reported that yesterday, the police department in St. Maarten received a call from the security office at the A.C. Wathey Cruise Facilities in St. Maarten that they had received a message from the Horizon cruise vessel informing them that a passenger on board of the cruise ship had allegedly jumped from the ship in open waters between the Dominican Republic and Saint Maarten.
The AP says that the U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a missing cruise ship passenger from Ireland, but has the location slightly different. The AP states that the man is suspected of "going overboard" near Puerto Rico. The AP story doesn’t indicate how the man went overboard.
The Coast Guard identified the man as 67-year-old Dominic William O’Carroll.
The Horizon is an old ship and is not fitted with any semblance of an automatic man overboard system. One news source say that a crew member reported seeing "an object" falling into the water. Eventually, a check of surveillance film revealed the passenger going overboard around 5:00 AM. There has been no verification by authorities that the passenger jumped.
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April 14, 2015 Update: The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for the passenger. The Coast Guard has deployed:
- MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
- The Coast Guard Cutter Drummond, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- A 33-foot Special Purpose Craft Law-Enforcement vessel from Boat Station San Juan and one from Boat Station St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Government should invoice cruise ships that refuse to install automatic man overboard systems. Average search expenses of the U.S. can easily exceed $500,000 and reach $1,000,000. These expenses would be largely unnecessary if the cruise lines invested money to install new technology needed to keep passenger safe.
April 16, 2015 Update: A newspaper in Ireland reports that "since the search began early Monday morning, Coast Guard rescue crews conducted 12 air and surface searches covering an area of approximate 1,265 square nautical miles, an area approximately one third the size of Puerto Rico." A Coast Guard representative says "the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of this passenger remain unclear." There is no confirmation that the passenger jumped. as originally claimed by the ship.
Photo Credit: Croiseires de France