Every year dozens of people go missing from cruise ships across the globe. Most of their stories will never make it onto the evening news, and even those that do usually only command the public’s attention for a day or so.
The lack of news coverage, and hence public outrage, may be one of the reasons that more ships are not currently implementing “man overboard” technology, which is actually mandated by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010.
According to the CVSSA cruise lines are to implement integrated technology which can be used to detect and capture images of passengers who have fallen overboard. Certainly, the technology exists. And the cost of deploying such safety measures is surely well within the companies’ abilities to pay. So, why haven’t they installed these potentially lifesaving technologies en masse?
Any time a question arises with relation to why a cruise line refuses to put passenger safety first, the answer would seem to be profit. But the truth is that the companies are also likely victims of bureaucracy and inertia. For example, despite a rash of recent drownings and near drowning of children in cruise ship swimming pools, most companies have continued to refuse to hire life guards. With the sub-minimum wage salaries that most cruise ship crew are paid, it would pose very little financial burden on the cruise line to staff the pools with lifeguards.
It seems that the best chance the cruising public has to get the cruise lines to step up and put safety first is to demand that they do so. Until the public becomes more aware of the current situation, and begins to speak up, the cruise companies will likely continue with business as usual.