A crew member is missing at sea from an around-the-world cruise operated by Ambassador Cruise Line, according to the BBC. The unidentified crew member worked aboard the Ambience cruise ship.

The cruise ship departed from Lisbon, Portugal, bound for Tilbury in Essex (U.K.) on Thursday afternoon. He reportedly could not be located on the cruise ship this morning and was reported missing after breakfast.

A spokeswoman for Ambassador Cruise Line told that the BBC that a “full and thorough” search of the ship had been conducted and it was being reversed to retrace its route. This is typical of cruise ships which are not equipped with automatic man overboard (MOB) systems; instead of immediately searching in the water when a guest or ship employee goes overboard, the ship will waste time looking on the ship for the missing crew member.

Ambassador claims that it “is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all our crew and guests,” but it failed to install a life-saving MOB system on the ship which would provide timely notice of the overboard employee and permit a prompt search and rescue.

The Ambience was on the final cruise of its around-the-world tour at the time of the crew member’s disappearance.

According to cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, who provides the definitive data of people who have gone overboard, 408 people have fallen or jumped from cruise ships and ferries since 2000.

In reviewing the data maintained by Dr. Klein and after closely studying the phenomenon of people going overboard for the past 20 years, there are some general conclusions I have reached. The vast majority (probably over 90%) of crew members who go overboard do so intentionally due to long hours of work, long contracts on the ships (6-10 months) away from their families, and lack of psychological support from their employers. The majority of passengers, on the other hand, who go overboard do so due to excessive alcohol sold by the cruise ship.

The Coast Guard reportedly has taken on the delayed search for the crew member while the Ambience is now sailing back to its final port in the U.K. to take on a new round of passengers.

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May 4, 2024 Update:

The Spanish Coast Guard called of its belated search for the crew member.

Business Insider, which is one of the few newspapers which doesn’t simply repeat the misleading comments by the cruise industry, previously interviewed Dr. Ross Klein:

May 6, 2024 Update:

We received information about the missing crew member.

Image credit: Ambassador Ambience cruise ship – Pjotr Mahhonin – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.