Passengers aboard the Carnival Liberty and a local news station in Houston are reporting that a thirty-three year old passenger went overboard early this morning.
The missing passengers has been identified as Samantha Broberg who was initially reported missing by her traveling companions.
The Carnival cruise ship was apparently not equipped with a automatic man overboard system which should have alerted the bridge immediately when the young woman went over the rail so that immediate rescue measures could have been undertaken.
Carnival determined that she went overboard only after reviewing surveillance camera footage which "appears to show the woman going overboard around 2 A.M," according to a local ABC news channel in Houston. Previously, the crew engaged in the futile act of posting a photograph of the missing woman on the ship and conducting a search on the cruise ship.
Carnival confirmed the overboard in a statement released to Houston station KHOU.
The Carnival cruise ship departed from Galveston on Thursday on a four-day cruise to Mexico.
Cruise lines may be unable to prevent overboards but there is reliable technology available to automatically detect and quickly respond to these type of emergencies. The cruise industry has come up with irresponsible reasons to delay the installation of the life-saving systems. One such system, the Mobtronic™ system, reportedly delivers more than 95% detection accuracy and low false alarm rates. Such technology is required pursuant to the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act but most cruise lines refuse to install the technology due to costs.
Professor Ross Klein’s site indicates that 270 people have gone overboard since 2000.
The last passenger to go overboard disappeared from Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas earlier this month.
May 15 2016 Update: A fifteen hour delay? ABC News says that there was a delay from when the passenger went overboard, at around 2:00 A.M., until 5:00 P.M. before the search was initiated. An automatic MOB system would have obviously immediately notified the bridge, eliminating the fifteen (15) hour delay and increasing the chances of survival and a successful rescue.
Also the PR team at the cruise line is stating "based on the video analysis, we can confirm that it appears she climbed up and sat on a deck railing and subsequently fell backwards." Such conduct is foreseeable if someone is over-served alcohol.
Several people on our Facebook page are already blaming the passenger who many claim was intoxicated.
My thought is that cruise lines owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers pursuant to maritime law. Cruise lines face potential liability if they over-serve alcohol to a guest past the point of intoxication and the guest is injured or killed. Carnival collects $500,000,000 a year selling alcohol on its cruise ships, plus it pays virtually no U.S. taxes. Its bartenders and waiters make greater gratuities the more Carnival booze they sell. On land, bars face liability when they over-serve people to the point that they become literally falling-down drunks. The same liability on cruise ships. Intoxicated guests acting foolishly are foreseeable, especially on cruise ships. Carnival encourages the drunkenness with all-you-can-drink packages. Carnival knows that people will become highly intoxicated but does not have reasonable policies to deal with the problem. Then it does not invest in the proven technology of automatic MOB systems to immediately alert the bridge when someone goes overboard. It is a failure driven by the cruise line’s overarching priority to place profits over safety.
May 16 2016 Update: The authoritative gCaptain covers the story: Cruise Ship Passenger Safety In Focus After Woman Falls Overboard from Carnival Liberty.
May 19 2016 Update: Photos by passengers have appeared on social media bringing into question what a half dozen Carnival officers were inspecting the day after the passenger disappeared. Carnival’s PR claims that the stains on the deck were from a spilled "red drink" and later said that it was from a "strawberry daiquiri." Another passenger pointed out what appears to be a broken light fixture lying on the deck.
The Epoch Times picks up on the lack of an automatic man overboard system.
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Photo credit: KVUE