The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for an elderly passenger who may have gone over the side of the cruise ship MSC Divina early on Monday.
French citizen Jeon Pierre Knorr, 74, was last seen by his wife at approximately 0300 as he headed out to his cabin’s balcony to take some fresh air. The exact circumstances surrounding his disappearance remain unknown.
The Divina was north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico at the time Knorr went missing. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan launched an MH-65 helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to start the search. MSC Divina’s crew told the Coast Guard that they had searched the entire vessel and made announcements through the public address system, but they could not locate Knorr aboard.
Several Coast Guard helicopters out of Air Station Borinqun and Air Station Clearwater are participating in the search, and the fast response cutter Donald Horsley is also on scene.
The Caribbean cruise industry has had a number of well-publicized man-overboards recently, including an individual who went over the side of the Independence of the Seas in late December, but the annual number of incidents is very low relative to the millions of passengers who board cruise vessels each year. Consumer advocates suggest that man-overboard searches could be initiated more quickly if cruise vessels were fitted with video-based automatic detection equipment; the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act will eventually require cruise ships to install these systems, and appropriate regulations are being reviewed by the USCG.