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Man Overboard from HAL’s Eurodam During Cruise to Juneau, Alaska

This afternoon the U.S. Coast Guard reported that a 31 year old man apparently went overboard during a cruise to Juneau, Alaska last night.  The Alaskan newspaper KTOO initially reported in error that the missing man was a passenger. The Coast Guard release stated in pertinent part:

“The Coast Guard is searching for a missing man who was last seen near Juneau, Monday night.

The Coast Guard continues searching for the missing 31-year-old man.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received notification from the Eurodam at 10:45 p.m. that a person was missing and had potentially gone overboard.”

The official Coast Guard statement says that the Eurodam cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard station in Juneau at 10:45 p.m.  The Coast Guard Sector in Juneau dispatched a “45-foot Response Boat-Medium” at 11:05 p.m. and the crew arrived on scene at approximately 11:15 p.m. The Coast Guard Sector in Juneau later launched an Air Station Sitka MH-60 helicopter aircrew at about 12:03 a.m. The aircrew arrived on scene at approximately 12:40 a.m.

The curious thing about these official times is that the Eurodam was scheduled to arrive in Juneau by 10:00 p.m. last night. AIS information (via MarineTraffic) shows the Eurodam in the port of Juneau by the time that it finally reported the missing person at 10:45 p.m. (Are there any guests or crew members on this ship who can confirm exactly when the ship arrived in Juneau?)

If this information is correct, the HAL cruise ship delayed reporting the overboard man (apparently a crew member) until the ship had already arrived at port in Juneau.

It further appears that the Eurodam was not equipped with an automatic man overboard system (MOB). Automatic MOB’s will immediately signal the bridge when someone goes over the rails of the ship. The system will them automatically track the person in the water, even at night, via radar and infrared technology. Cruise ships which do not have this technology will allow an overboard person to go undetected. The bridge officers will not realize the overboard person missing and the ship will continue blindly sailing on. Only later, when the ship arrives at the next port, will the officers realize that someone disappeared from the ship (either jumped or was pushed or otherwise fell from the ship).

Few cruise lines have such technology installed on their fleet of ships. We know that Disney Cruises and one or two other companies have installed such systems on some of their ships. Carnival Corporation has not invested in the Automatic MOB systems on any of its ships on any of its brands.

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Image Credit: Kefalonitis94 – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.

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