SOS helps to reduce the loss of lives at sea and also reduces the costs for associated search and rescue operations. Learn more about the motivation for developing SOS below.
Man overboard! Critical situation. Critical timing. Critical operation. Till now...
Almost every day, someone is going overboard (MoB) from a vessel or an offshore installation. The majority of human loss at sea is typically from larger transport vessels. The cruise industry alone, has an average MoB incident weekly, resulting in loss of life. Most cases remain unresolved.
Generally speaking, the main problem in most of the MoB incidents is that nobody sees you fall. And even if the person going overboard is detected by someone (which is rarely the case), alarming the crew is most often done too late. It sometimes takes hours until the crew actually becomes aware of the incident — too late for a successful search and rescue operation and most often too late to find back the drowned person at all.
The majority of MoB incidents go unnoticed. SOS aims to detect any person going overboard and to alert the Bridge/Control Room instantaneously.
Timing is critical. Only when a man overboard incident is reported to the crew immediately, it might be possible to locate the drowning person in time for recovery. Therefore, every second counts in alarming and starting the necessary search and rescue operations. Early detection increases the chance of a successful recovery!
Apart from the loss of lives at sea, each incident triggers a complex and costly search and rescue operation. Such an operation typically involves turning around the vessel, launching smaller rescue boats for searching and calling for assistance from shore-based units or nearby ships. Direct costs are significant and typically exceed € 1,000,000, depending on the scope of the operation. In addition, shipping operators face additional costs and challenges, such as legal procedures and loss of reputation.
The longer the time span between the time the incident actually occurred and the time the crew is alarmed, the more complex and costly search and rescue operations will become. And, above all, with rapidly reducing chances of success.
Due to its instantaneous alerting capabilities, SOS will contribute to reducing both the loss of lives and high expenses in connection with search and rescue operations.
The ever-increasing number of fatalities in MoB incidents is of grave concern for the entire maritime industry and action to resolve this is given high priority.
For example, the United State's Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) mandates that from 27th January 2012 cruise ships must have a man overboard monitoring system, which shall "integrate technology that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent such technology is available". Many other sea nations enforce this act as well. As a consequence, numerous maritime transport companies have recently assessed and validated the available technologies, but have been unable to find a system that is reliable and cost-effective. There is currently no available equipment on the market to meet the requirements of CVSSA.
SOS is now being demonstrated as the first reliable, cost-effective and real-time man overboard detection and alerting system.