Man Overboard from Carnival Spirit

Published Jul 8, 2014 3:12 AM by The Maritime Executive

A search and rescue operation is under way near Vanuatu after a man was lost overboard from the cruise ship Carnival Spirit.

The man is believed to be a member of the kitchen crew and could have been missing for up to 20 hours by the time an announcement was made on board, a passenger is reported to have said. "Several messages later, the captain announced we were going to turn the boat around to search for him," she said.

The vessel is apparently around 320 miles off the coast of Noumea and New Caledonian search and rescue authorities will be sending a plane to assist in the search.

The ship is midway through a 12-night cruise and was heading for Fiji. 

According to US cruise law specialist Jim Walker of Walker and O’Neill Maritime Lawyers, “under the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010, cruise lines are supposed to have implemented automatic man-overboard CCTV systems to defect man-overboards as soon as they happen. Under applicable U.S. maritime law, there should never be this type of mystery when a crew member (or passengers) disappears on the high seas.”

Cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein reports that 233 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000, says Walker.