The crew center website is reporting that authorities in Chile are investigating the disappearance of a Filipino crew member who went overboard from NCL cruise ship Norwegian Sun yesterday. The NCL crew member is identified as Dominic Santiago Gubertino age 55.
The circumstances reported regarding the crew member’s disappearance indicate that the Norwegian Sun was apparently not equipped with an automatic man overboard system that would automatically notify the bridge of the crew member going over the rails of the cruise ship.
The crew center site says that "upon the arrival in Chacabuco, Gubertino co-workers realized that he was not onboard and security officers reviewed the CCTV cameras showing that he went overboard at 06:41 am on 16.02.2016. During the afternoon the prosecutor boarded the cruise ship to investigate this tragic:event. According to information provided by Norwegian Sun officers it was not until 9:45 that they realized the crew member was missing and they mobilized all crew members to find out if Gubertino was onboard."
This mean that there was a delay of over three hours after the crew member went overboard and when the cruise ships realized that a crew member had disappeared at sea.
A representative of the Chilean Navy is quotes saying:
"At around 10:40 information was received by Norwegian Sun that a crew of Filipino nationality went overboard which was verified by checking security cameras."
This means, of course, that the cruise ship did not report the crew member going overboard for over an hour after they verified that he disappeared. At this point, there was already a three hours delay in determining that he went overboard.
This is not the first time that a NCL crew member disappeared at sea or that the cruise line unreasonably delayed either realizing that a crew member went overboard or reporting it.
Last July, several NCL crew members reported to me that a crew member aboard the Norwegian Sun went overboard while the Sun was proceeding to Juneau, Alaska. The AP later reported that that the U.S. Coast Guard said that footage from the security system of the NCL cruise ship showed the crew member jumping overboard without a life jacket at 4:16 a.m. Yet the Alaskan State Troopers said that they were not notified until 11 hours later – shortly after 5 p.m.
In this case, we do not know anything about why the crew member went overboard. The family is left in the dark with a wide range of speculation regarding what happened. Our U.S. Congress passed the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act into effect in order for passenger and crew member overboards to be immediately detected and documented. Automatic MOB system have been feasible for a long time. There is no excuse for any cruise line not to install there systems at this late date.
Photo credit: Coolcaesar Creative Commons / Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0.