The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) has developed a new global standard that aims to ensure the safety of people who fall overboard on ships.

The new standard, known as ‘ISO / PAS 21195, Ships and marine technology – Systems for the detection of persons while going overboard from ships (Man overboard detection)’, is intended to improve the technology that detects ‘man overboard’ accidents and helps individuals get back on-board safely.

ISO/PAS 21195 features a number of globally agreed technical specifications for systems designed to detect when a person has fallen overboard from a passenger ship.

"Our intention is now to develop the document into a full International Standard. Therefore, we encourage feedback and input from relevant stakeholders."

The standard also includes details of the expected performance of these systems across a variety of environmental and incident conditions.

It also aims to standardise and clearly define the required technical specifications for the emergency systems currently available for the passenger cruise industry.

ISO/TC 8/SC 1 chair Robin Townsend said: “With everyone working from the same set of requirements, manufacturers can more easily evaluate the safety, effectiveness and performance of the systems.

“This also provides a strong foundation on which new technologies can be developed.

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“Our intention is now to develop the document into a full International Standard. Therefore, we encourage feedback and input from relevant stakeholders such as those in the cruise ship industry, systems developers or advocacy groups, to ensure it is as robust and effective as possible.”

According to the 2018 Cruise Industry Outlook provided by the Cruise Lines International Association, more than 27 million holidaymakers are expected to embark on a cruising holiday this year.

It is noted that the safety of these cruise ships is rarely questioned, despite the fact that an average of 21 ‘man overboard’ incidents occur every year, revealed the ‘Report on Operational Incidents 2009 to 2016’, which was prepared by G.P. Wild consulting for CLIA Global.