A cruise passenger reportedly went overboard from the MSC Preziosa in the Caribbean several days ago, according to the France-Antilles newspaper.
The Martinique newspaper reports that a 69-year-old Dutch citizen was not located on the MSC Cruises ship when it arrived in Fort-de-France last Saturday, December 8th.
The last port before Martinique scheduled on the cruise was Philipsburg, St. Maarten on Friday, December 7th. The unidentified passenger was last seen Friday night on the balcony of their cabin by her husband.
The newspaper concluded that “most likely hypothesis would be a fall” from the cruise ship” estimated at 30 meters.
The ship left Fort-de-France at its scheduled departure time of 11:00 p.m. on Saturday.
A helicopter and Navy jet conducted a search for the woman after he was not located on the cruise ship on Saturday morning in Martinique. The search was called off on Sunday, December 9th following which transmissions of the missing passenger continued to be circulated to merchant ships in the area.
This appears to be another case where a cruise line failed to have an automatic man overboard system installed on the ship. Such systems automatically send a signal to the bridge when a person goes over the railing. The cruise ship can quickly try to locate and rescue the person using sophisticated motion detection, infrared and radar technology.
Numerous experts have recommended such state-of-the-art MOB systems like this and this. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires such systems for cruise ships calling on U.S ports, to the extent that such technology if available.
The last man overboard occurred on November 22, 2018 and involved a Royal Caribbean crew member who apparently jumped from the Adventure of the Seas.
The majority of cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, do not have such systems installed, claiming that the overboard detection technology is not reliable, as recently reported by the Miami Herald.
MSC Cruises, ironically, is one of the few cruise lines that has installed such technology on at least one cruise ship, the MSC Meraviglia. MSC Cruises stated last year that it was planning to deploy similar systems across its fleet of cruise ships.
According to Seatrade Cruise News, MSC Cruises developed an “intelligent video capturing and analysis system” in collaboration with security technology experts, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. 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%.”
Seatrade also explained that the 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.
We have criticized MSC in the past because crew members and passengers have disappeared from ships without this type of technology. Brazilian crew member Simone Scheuer Sousa disappeared from the MSC Musica last year. MSC’s untimely response to an overboard passenger early last year from the MSC Divina further demonstrated the need for an automatic man overboard system.
Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein has estimated that, before this latest overboard, at least 322 people have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000 and at least 22 people this year.
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Photo credit: Neptuno1976 CC by SA 3.0 commons / wikipedia.