We have become too dependent on automatic equipment of many kinds.
The cruise ship Queen Victoria was recently cruising in New Zealand waters’ Sutherland Sound when the automatic alarm sounded that there was a man overboard.
Maritime New Zealand spokesman Vince Cholewa said that an eye-in-the-sky type helicopter with no rescue equipment was sent out immediately, and shortly thereafter Southern Lakes Helicopters sent out a rescue copter from Te Anau with winches, rescue crew, and paramedics, but all to no avail.
The Captain assembled the crew and made a head count and nobody was missing. Somehow the automatic man overboard detector had misfired. Something unidentified did go overboard, but it was not a person, Cholowa said in his official report. The ship did everything right and is now continuing on to Dunedin.
The Queen Victoria is noticeably larger than the Queen Elizabeth 2 that she replaced, and twice as big as the ill-fated Titanic from a century ago. The ship weighs 90,000 tons stands 16 stories tall and carries as many as 3000 crew and passengers.