Over the weekend, a British woman fell off the back of the Norwegian Star cruise ship, 60 miles off the coast of Croatia, as the ship made its way from Dubrovnik to Venice.
After falling around midnight on Saturday (Aug. 18), she was reportedly rescued just before 10am by the Croatian Coast Guard. According to AIS marine traffic data accessed by maritime lawyer and cruise industry critic James Walker, the ship appeared to change course around the time of the incident but had resumed its route to Venice by the time the woman was rescued, though this could not be confirmed by Quartz.
It is not clear how the passenger, named Kay Longstaff, fell overboard, and she did not give details in a brief interview with Croatian camera crews. The Cruise Line International Association, the industry’s lobbying arm, maintains that their investigations show the only people who fall overboard on cruise ships are those who intentionally jump or act recklessly, often while intoxicated.
NCL released a statement about the incident:
In the morning of August 19th, a guest went overboard as Norwegian Star made her way to Venice. The Coast Guard was notified and a search and rescue operation ensued. We are pleased to advise that the guest was found alive, is currently in stable condition, and has been taken ashore in Croatia for further treatment. We are very happy that the individual, who is a UK resident, is now safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family.
This comes roughly seven weeks after another man overboard (MOB) incident on another Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship. In that case, it was a Filipino crew member who went overboard off the coast of Cuba and spent at least 22 hours in the water. He was located and rescued by a passing Carnival ship after the Norwegian Getaway had returned to port in Miami.
As Walker wrote on his blog after yesterday’s incident, “If this information is accurate, this is the second recent case where an overboard person from a NCL cruise ship was rescued after NCL abandoned the search and returned to the home port.”
Though the Guardian reported that CCTV footage was used to determine Longstaff’s location, it is not clear if Norwegian had MOB technology installed on its ships. (The company did not respond to request for comment prior to publication.) This technology is intended to speed up rescues by alerting crew the moment a person goes overboard, allowing rescuers to more accurately triangulate their location.
New guidance for MOB technology was released by the International Organization for Standardization, a non-governmental international organization, earlier this year. Created in conjunction with the Cruise Victims International Association, compliance is not mandatory. Per legislation passed by the US Congress in 2010, ships that disembark or embark in the United States are required by law to have MOB technology installed. However, due to a wording loophole, few do.
According to cruise industry expert Ross Klein, there have been 17 MOB incidents thus far in 2018, with four on NCL ships.
Quartz made several attempts to contact Norwegian Cruise Line and will update this post when we receive a response.