An eighteen year old passenger went overboard from the Costa Toscana last week, according to other guests on the Costa cruise ship. Shortly after the young man went into the water, several passengers sailing on the Costa Toscana tweeted that a man went into water during dinner. A patrol boat operated by the Italian Coast Guard located the deceased man two hours later.
An Italian newspaper reported that: ” The man who died yesterday evening (April 13th) seven miles off the coast of Civitavecchia was 18 years old and of German nationality. The young man was on the ship Costa Toscana who had just left the port for Genoa, when some witnesses saw him fall into the sea.”
Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, who has testified several times as an expert before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding cruise ship safety systems and the problem of sexual assaults on cruise ships, maintains the definitive database regarding guests and crew members who have gone overboard (due to either an accident, excessive alcohol service, foul play, or suicide). His website documents at last 375 people have gone overboard from 1995 through December of 2022).
Several newspapers suggest that this young man may have suffered from depression and decided to intentionally end his life.
Suicide by a passenger jumping from a cruise ship is relatively rare. The most common occurrence is a young passenger like this becoming grossly intoxicated on the ship and falling overboard, in addition to a woman being thrown overboard by an acquaintance or husband.
Very few cruise ships have been equipped with automatic man overboard systems. These types of systems, which have been available for over a decade, operate when a person goes over the rails of the ship, triggering a motion-detection apparatus. An alarm is then sent immediately to the bridge. The system captures video images of the person and then tracks the person in the water using infrared technology. Even though these systems have been required for cruise ships entering and departing from U.S. ports for over a decade by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, few cruise lines have invested in this technology.
To our knowledge, only the Disney Cruises fleet and one cruise ship operated by MSC Cruises, the MSC Meraviglia, have implemented the life savings technology. No cruise ships operated by Costa or any other cruise brand owned by Carnival Corporation have such systems.
Last week, another new automatic man overboard system was introduced into the market. The system, manufactured by SICK USA, 3D LiDAR sensors MRS6000, “can prevent faulty alarms by blanking out spray, waves and birds,” a common excuse voiced by the non-compliant cruise industry.
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April 17, 2023 Update: Newsweek covered the story with portions of our article used without attribution.
Image credit: Costa Toscana AIS search data via L’Unione Sarda.