Woman falls overboard Princess Cruises ship

Sun Princess. Credit: SEAPIX/Trevor Coppock

A Taiwanese woman has died after falling overboard from the cruise ship Sun Princess on 9 August 2019 near the Japanese island of Okinawa.

A spokesperson for Carnival PLC subsidiary Princess Cruises told Safety at Sea that the 41-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was reported missing from the ship by staff around 06:00 local time.

The vessel reversed its course, sent a search team, and informed the Japanese coastguard, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said: “At approximately 07:13 local time, a fast rescue craft recovered the body and the guest was confirmed deceased by the ship’s medical team. We activated our Princess Care Team to provide assistance to her family and friends at this difficult time.”

The Japanese coastguard gave Sun Princess the go ahead to resume its course at 07:40.

Camera footage showed that the woman had fallen overboard from the deck on the 11th floor of the Sun Princess, which was on a five-day cruise from Keelung, Taiwan, to Okinawa.

Sun Princess will continue to Okinawa before returning to Keelung on 11 August 2019. The 1995-built 14-storey cruise ship, with gross tonnage of 77,000 tonnes, has the capacity to carry 2,000 passengers.

It is not known if the Sun Princess was affected by Typhoon Lekima, which was battering the area at the time. Authorities in Taiwan, China, and Japan have advised ships to take extra care as the typhoon, with maximum winds of 227 km per hour, was originally classified as a super typhoon. The classification was subsequently downgraded.

On 7 August a fishing trawler, Chuan Yi Tsai No. 1, was found capsized near the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Its six-man crew are believed to have died.

The Keelung branch of the Taiwan coastguard said that it was informed of the Sun Princess incident from Princess Cruises’ Keelung agent, Tailung Shipping, adding that its officers will inspect the vessel when it returns to Keelung as part of its investigations.