Last night, a person went overboard from the Symphony of the Seas. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was sailing off of the west coast of Spain and was at the beginning of the trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise after finishing its itineraries in the Mediterranean.

Guests onboard the ship reportedly heard “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!” being announced shortly after 11 p.m. last night. One of the guests notified me about an hour after the person went into the ocean. It is currently unknown whether the person is a man or a woman, or a guest or crew member. It is also a mystery how the person went over the rails into the water.


To our knowledge, other than postings on Twitter, there have been no accounts of this event in the news. The person who provided this information last stated: “There was no further mention of the incident. Looks like nothing has been mentioned in the media. It’s as if it didn’t even happen.”

Reporting on successful search and rescues is a delight. No mention of the usual delays in not having an automatic man overboard system. No misleading claims by the cruise line that it conducted an “immediate” search when in fact the company delayed several hours and the guest or crew member died. No one diverting responsibility by blaming the guest. No useless arguing that “no one can fall off a cruise ship.”

Just good news that another soul was not lost a sea.

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Image credit: Video taken on Symphony of the Seas –Landon @landonb94 via Twitter; Symphony of the Seas – Darthvadrouw – commons / wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

November 1, 2023 Update:

We received this additional information from the cruise ship:

“From what I gathered from a crew member the guest is male and around 60. He is still on the ship and depending on his condition he may be offloaded tomorrow at Cadiz. This is the final stop before 9 day crossing to Nassau.”

This incident was reported by Business Insider.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, or CVSSA, passed in 2010 by Congress requires cruise ships to use technology “that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent that such technology is available.”

Insider previously reported that, despite those requirements, the Coast Guard hasn’t inspected cruise ships for any man overboard technology, cameras or otherwise.