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An MSC employee made headlines this week after heroically diving  into the ocean to rescue a passenger who jumped from the MSC Seaview. 

While the ship was touring the Italian city of Genoa, an Irish woman reportedly fell from the ship, and the crew member, an experienced sailor, jumped after the woman and rescued her within minutes.

This is not the first time crew members have risked their lives to rescue passengers. There are many stories of people going overboard – some after accidentally slipping, others after incidents that resulted from behaviour that put them and their rescuers at risk.

While the cruise industry does not keep track of these stories, academics like Ross Klein from the Memorial University of Newfoundland does.

Mr Klein claims that since 2000, there have been 314 man-overboard incidents across a dozen major cruise lines.

He’s compiled data from expert witnesses in court cases,  and he says the average rate of rescue across these lines up to mid-2017 was around 17 per cent.

As a result, researchers and cruise companies are working together to test a new wireless system which is able to track and account for every passenger.

The wireless system called Lynceus is currently in the works and Anthony Kalis, head of research and development at the company creating the software, Signal GeneriX said, “Various cruise companies already provide electronic tools for their passengers so that they can make purchases or access their cabins. So we can integrate our tracking device in a key card or in a bracelet.”

The crew can use a wireless network that covers the entire ship and shows all the trackers on a computer screen. The developers stress though, that it will only be used when passengers are missing overboard.

Cruise line protocols dictates that when a man or woman goes overboard, as soon as the incident happens, cruise ship crew will activate a button that pinpoints the place where the person went into the water.

The ship will then turn back to the area and the crew and ship perform a lengthy search and rescue operation, lasting several hours. The captain of the ship will also notify other ships in the area as well as the closest local maritime authority.

Here are some of the most heroic cruise ship rescues:

May 20, 2019

Carnival Fascination

Earlier this year, the crew aboard the Carnival Fascination rescued a passenger who jumped off the ship while at sea. To the surprised of guests, he was seen swimming in the water and shouting. The man who was 19-years-old was rescued when the crew lowered a lifeboat into the water, 45 minutes after he was seen thrashing around.

March 20, 2019

Mariner of the Seas

There were reports that passengers onboard the Mariner of the Seas saw a passenger who went overboard from the Royal Caribbean ship. He was located and rescued from the water.

August 18, 2018

Norwegian Epic

There were reports that a British woman survived after falling from the Norwegian Star. Officials said she was rescued 10 hours after falling into the Adriatic Sea. The 46-year-old was found and taken to a hospital in Pula.”I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.” She was then taken to hospital in an ambulance. The rescue vessel’s captain, Lovro Oreskovic, said she was found on Sunday “exhausted”. According to eyewitnesses, she jumped or fell around midnight after drinking and fighting with her travel partner

June 30, 2017

Aida Perla

On a Friday morning, a man travelling with his grandmother was seen jumping from the Aida Perla. The 24-year-old man, who was naked when he was found swimming in the ocean, was fished from the Mallorca harbour. Apparently, the passenger was on drugs when he jumped star naked.