A twenty-six year old passenger reportedly went overboard from the Carnival Dream yesterday evening. The incident happened when the Carnival cruise ship was around 50 miles southeast of Galveston when the man apparently jumped from his cabin’s balcony, according to comments made by Carnival to a local news station KTRK-TV.

News reports late ast night included a video taken by a cruise passenger of a rescue boat shining a flashlight into the dark waters in the Gulf of Mexico.


Carnival Cruise Line is one of the cruise companies which refuses to invest in automatic man overboard systems (MOB), as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. Such systems utlize sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology to send a signal directly to the bridge when a person goes over the rails and then tracks the person in the water even at night.

Cruise ships without such systems first conduct a manual search of the ship and then review the video of cameras along the side of the ship (which are not actively manned) to see if they show someone going overboard.  Such “old school” systems delay rescue efforts. It’s akin to looking for a needle in a hatstack. In this case, news accounts indicate that the Carnival Dream had to sail around 25 minutes to return to the area where the man apparently jumped in the water.

The U.S Coast Guard stated that it was first notified of the situation at 8:45 p.m. last night. It then lauched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Houston and a HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Corpus Christi. The rescue efforts have not been successful.

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein’s popular cruise site CruiseJunkie indicates that 355 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000. Most cruise lines have not installed automatic MOB systems. There are numerous available for use such as shown here and here.

The Carnival ship was beginning a four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico.

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We suggest reading: Rosie Spink’s article for Quartz- People fall off cruise ships with alarming regularity. Can anything be done to stop it?

Carnival Dream photo credit: Myselfalso CC BY-SA 3.0 commons / wikimedia. Video credit: Charles Griffith via Lauren Talarico‏ / @KHOULauren.