In the space of only one week, in separate incidents, three people have been lost overboard from three different cruise ships. Sadly, none of the individuals have been found.
In the first incident on 17th May, a crew member reportedly went overboard from the seventh deck of cruise ship 8 nautical miles southeast of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
At 1 a.m. on Wednesday, the cruise ship crew launched a search of the ship. Then at approximately 4 a.m., they contacted the US Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center alerting them of the situation. The Coast Guard immediately launched five air and three surface searches covering an area of over 1,200 square nautical miles, but without success. This crucial 3-hour delay between the crew first being aware that a person has gone missing and the start of the maritime search and rescue mission, is critical to its success of the operation.
The second incident on the 19th May, occurred on board a cruise ship, where according to news reports, an elderly man had deliberately gone overboard around 100 nautical miles off the coast of Singapore. Despite the ship turning around and conducting a square pattern search, the passenger was not recovered.
In the third incident on the 22nd May, a 50 year-old man was reported overboard from a cruise ship off the coast of Florida. It was reported that the crew conducted a room to room search and notified the coastguard of a possible man overboard, but the ship did not change course, indicating that they were not sure when he had gone missing or how. A Coast Guard aircraft and helicopter covered more than 3,000 square miles during the subsequent search. The man has not been found and it is assumed he was lost overboard.
Without an immediate alarm notifying the bridge that a person has gone overboard, the chances of a successful conclusion to the search and rescue mission rapidly diminish. The cost of that mission also rapidly escalates.
In response to this, MARSS have developed MOBtronic, a man-overboard alert system which provides automatic detection of man overboard incidents, triggering an immediate alarm on the bridge of the vessel.
A robust system with highly reliable probability of immediate detection and acceptably low nuisance activation rates, MOBtronic can pinpoint both the onboard location from which a person fell, for example the deck level or cabin and the exact GPS and chart location of the fall, making identification and recovery of the missing person quicker.
Each MOBtronic unit is self-contained, combining micro-radars, IR cameras with video analytics and computer processing for a reliable 97% probability of detection. The system has been proven in 45,000 hours of operational cruise ship testing.
The value of a system like this in terms of instant detection of a MOB incident is immeasurable and can make the difference between successful recovery of a person who falls overboard and ultimately a person’s life or death.
MARSS hope to make undetected man-overboard incidents a thing of the past.