Today a video taken by a passenger from the Disney Fantasy cruise ship was posted on Twitter. It shows a dummy tethered to a rope being dropped over the railing of a passenger balcony at the stern of the Disney ship, violently twisting at the end of the rope, and then being slowly pulled back up to the balcony.

A number of other people on Twitter questioned what was happening, with many guessing that Disney may have been testing an man overboard (MOB) system.

The video was posted by @nicholasbueller who deleted his tweet and video after this article was published. 

The Disney Fantasy was in port in Cape Canaveral today, having returned from a seven day cruise to Mexico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. The ship left today from Port Canaveral on a week cruise to Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts and the Bahamas. The video was apparently taken while the ship was in Castaway Cay in the Bahamas yesterday.

Four years ago, acquaintances of mine went on a Disney cruise and watched as the ship’s man overboard system was tested.  A crew member threw a rubber test dummy on a rope over the rail and logged the results whether the system detected the “person” going overboard.

An officer also talked to them about the man overboard system, saying that the monitoring equipment on the bridge is a “pain” for the bridge officers. They complained that there was an issue with false alarms, mostly from the ocean spray.

They sent me a photo (right) which they took of the dummy used in the man overboard test. Read: Disney’s Man Overboard System. There was also a suggestion that Disney’s MOB system was manufactured by Seafaring Security Services, as discussed in the article, although Disney has never officially confirmed this information.

Cruise lines, of course, are super-secret when it come to whether their ships have man overboard systems and, if so, what type of system is installed. Disney has never publicly admitted which MOB system it has or whether it has even has an effective automated system system like this and this, as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.

My best guess is that Disney, unlike most cruise lines, has an automatic system due to the number of successful Disney search and rescue operations where overboard passengers have been saved at sea.

It was surprising to see that Disney was performing the dummy testing in front of passengers at a port of call (albeit at their private destination). You can hear the dummy “splatting” when it landed on the stern near the Disney logo and name of the cruise ship (photo left), after it was dropped from the passenger balcony. The crew apparently dropped and retrieved the dummy several times. At least one person on Twitter expressed alarm that she was witnessing some type of emergency taking place.

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Video screen grab – @nicholasbueller via Twitter.