A passenger in her 40’s went overboard today from the MSC Meraviglia, and was quickly rescued by a Danish rescue helicopter according to the Norwegian newspaper VG.
The newspaper did not indicate how the woman went overboard but described the incident as an “accident” which happened in Norwegian waters, midway between Norway and Denmark to the south. A rescue center, believed to be in Norway, was notified shortly before 1:00 P.M. local time.
The MSC Meraviglia was sailing from Flåm to Kiel in Germany at the time of the incident. The rescue center reported shortly before 3:00 P.M. that the woman was found in the sea by the Danish rescue helicopter, and flew the woman to Aalborg, Denmark.
There were a number of Norwegian and German newspapers tweeting about the incident (including a German news article which erroneously reported that a man went overboard):
Das Kreuzfahrtschiff "MSC #Meraviglia" von @MSCKreuzfahrten hat am Freitag eine große Suchaktion ausgelöst. Von Bord des Schiffes war ein Mensch ins #Skagerrak gefallen. Das Schiff war zum Unglückszeitpunkt auf dem Weg nach #Kiel. https://t.co/PoPFs6ISy5 pic.twitter.com/yBgbEZQmqn
— Kieler Nachrichten (@kn_online) July 5, 2019
The MSC Meraviglia is one of the few cruise lines in the world which has implemented a state of the art automatic man overboard system. As I explained shortly after the MSC Meraviglia first was launched, MSC Cruises developed an “intelligent video capturing and analysis system” in collaboration with security technology experts, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. MSC Cruises tested the new man overboard system on the company’s newest ship which debuted in June of 2017. MSC reported that “through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.”
The man overboard data and images are analysed by two separate and independent image processing systems which significantly lower false alerts. Once the alarm is activated in case of an overboard, an acoustic signal and light will notify the ship’s security officer, in a central security room, who can immediately retrieve and review the images and data and immediately notify the bridge to begin rescue efforts, according to the Seatrade magazine.
MSC has not yet attributed the rescue of this overboard guest directly to the success of the new overboard system. However, it released a statement to a German newspaper stating: “Our ship’s security systems and ship’s command responded promptly, effectively and appropriately.” The newspaper continued by reporting that “within minutes, the ship had changed its route and returned to where the incident occurred.”
Unfortunately, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) does not mandate the use of such technology. Trade organizations, like the Cruise Line International Organizations (CLIA), unreasonably resist the move toward this life-saving technology, citing a myriad of excuses (alleging the cost and unreliability of the technology) which are belied by the success of the systems which are available on the market today.
Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Update: A German newspaper reports that the woman died in a hospital after she was rescued, notwithstanding emergency life support services provided by the Danish helicopter crew.