Monday, August 6, 2007

From the it's not only cruise ships department:

A crew member fell overboard from a 600-foot tanker, Overseas Altamar, headed toward New York Sunday about 10am. The ship was about 20 miles south of the Ambrose Channel, the main shipping lane into New York. He was wearing orange coveralls and a blue inflatable life jacket. Other crew members threw him a life ring, and the ship turned immediately to search for him and radioed the Coast Guard. Both the Coast Guard and the NYPD have been searching for the man since, but have yet to locate him. It sounds like it should be relatively easy since he's in a well-trafficked area, and they know exactly where he went in the water. The Coast Guard told CND that the search is now being complicated because there are two circular currents in the area which could now be carrying him farther away and necessitates expanding the search area.

The interesting thing is that a search for news coverage of the incident brings up less than a half dozen items, and all from publications and broadcast outlets in New York City. The last time this happened from a cruise ship, 24 hours after the incident, a search brought up coverage from more than 500 outlets. Is there really a difference in importance? And why is no one implying that there's something sinister or unsafe about the shipping industry because a man fell overboard?

Update Aug 07: The Coast Guard suspended their search at 10pm Monday night after searching 2000 square miles. During the 36-hour search, 11 ships, airplanes and helicopters were utilized, but the man was not found. The Coast Guard said that the decision to suspend the search was based on survivability considering the time and the weather/sea conditions.

Even though the search was suspended more than 12 hours ago, in a scan of the media, we cannot find any new articles about incident or the suspension of the search, only the same half dozen we found when the man went overboard and all from outlets in New York City. We still find it bizarre that the news media will let an incident such as this involving a cargo vessel slip by almost unnoticed, but if it involves a cruise ship they focus on it with hundreds of articles and continuing coverage on an international basis.