Man overboard events (MOB) can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water to over 180 feet. Falls from these heights can injure and often kill the victim. MOB events may be reported by a bystander or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing. This information must all be verified by the crew before taking action, which can take a considerable amount of time.
Consider these facts:
- The typical stopping distance of a cruise ship is 1 mile.If it takes 15 minutes to confirm an MOB event, a ship may have moved 7 miles from the original fall location.
- A typical man overboard detection system can report a MOB event in under 1 second.
Accurately detecting a human falling from a moving ship is not an easy problem to solve, but it is now achievable with recent technology efforts, including the use of video analytics, as patented in the man overboard detection system developed by PureTech Systems. Man overboard systems such as these use thermal video from dedicated MOB cameras to intelligently evaluate potential fall events, while filtering out environmental conditions (rain, waves, sea spray, debris) and normal crew activity (crew changes, maintenance).
System Integration and Crew Notification
The use of automated MOB detection, in lieu of relying on eye witness accounts or a missing person report, is extremely valuable in reducing the time between the actual event and rescue operations; however, accurate detection is only part of the problem. Systems must also provide a high level of situational awareness to help the ship’s crew gain a full understanding of the event as quickly as possible. MOB systems deployed with geospatial video analytics have several unique features to address this need:
Image Data – As humans, we inherently rely on vision as one of our primary senses; the human mind will rely on its sense of sight as a means to confirm any other data received. Using video analytics for detection means data preferred for validation by a first responder – still images and looping video – is instantly available to reduce the time required to confirm the event. To further ensure rapid verification, video analytic systems highlight the potential target with graphical “bounding boxes” on both still images and full motion video clips in order to quickly communicate what event raised the alarm.
Location Data – In addition to logging the GPS location of the ship at the exact time of the event, video solutions leveraging geospatial data also provide insight as to the location on the vessel itself where the event took place. Including location information with each alarm allows first responders to more quickly reach the incident location and begin MOB procedures without the loss of valuable time typically required to confirm an event and its point of origin.
Video Forensics – Today’s video algorithms take images from video sources, analyze those images in real time, and then convert the resulting information into metadata. This metadata contains all the important information related to each frame of video. Converting live video data into metadata means faster and more intelligent analysis of recorded video. For a ship’s crew member, this means any video related to an MOB event that was not already provided as part of the alarm can be quickly searched for and retrieved. This may include other camera views, or early views of the reporting camera.
Man Overboard events continue to be a common occurrence in the cruise industry and other related markets. The problem is not only the timely and accurate detection of the event, but also the ability to provide this event information in a manner that can be easily understood and corroborated by responding crew members, including time of occurrence, instant video footage, location on the ship and location in the sea.
Read more about the technology behind the Man Overboard Detection System from PureTech Systems.