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Man Overboard Technology: Should Cruise Lines Take the Plunge?

Christine A. Ladwig, Dana Schwieger
December 31, 2018
North America
Strategy & General Management, Ethics & Social Justice
3 pages
cruise line industry, man overboard (MOB) technology, ethics, cost-benefit analysis, maritime
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

In a nearly $40 billion market conditioned by bottom-line numbers and thin margins, cruise lines are hard-pressed to invest in areas that do not result in significantly increased sales. One such budget dilemma facing the industry focuses on installation of technology intended to detect passengers who fall overboard during voyages. While only about 25 of the 22 million passengers who book cruises each year fall overboard, each life lost at sea draws attention to the safety devices available to protect travelers (, 2016). Maritime regulations require cruise ships to use passenger surveillance systems. However, cruise lines are yet to be required to install more expensive, and at times problematic, man overboard (MOB) technologies. In this case, students are asked to consider both ethical and financial implications to determine whether cruise lines should invest in added MOB infrastructure.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Identify the ethical, financial, strategic, and social implications in non-income generating business investments
  • Develop analyses to evaluate strategic safety options
  • Examine the role of ethics in business decision-making
  • Identify and discuss the responsibilities and liabilities of third parties
  • Recognize and discuss the interplay between legal regulation and personal responsibility in potential societal harms



The MOB case was a most well written cases I have read. This case was personally recommeded to use as a reference in writting my own cases. 


This case was the best case thus far. It was interesting and well written. It also helped me with my own case. This case was straight forward and gave great details in the writing. 


The MOB infrastructure would be a great assest for cruise lines to invest in, so no one else dies from falling overboard.  It is pretty pricey, but it might save them more money in the long run because a family might try to sue the cruise line for a family member falling overboard.


I think you should leave the decisions up to the market in order to know what the ticket prices should be for passengers to ride on the boat.


  MOB technology intially sounds like a pretty outragoues idea, and I would have to agree! It would be a unnecessary increase the the cost of cruise tickets when the solution to the issue is to simply be more responsible when on a ship. The case it self it very well written and informative.


With several factors that can influence your decision, this case really makes you think. Personally, I would not purchase the MOB technology. Even though it may sound heartless, I feel that 25 lives out of the 22 million passengers is not worth spending a massive amount of money on to create a slightly safer cruise experience. On top of that, I would not waste all that money on something that is proven to not even be 100% reliable.


Personally I do not agree with the decision that this company made, because I believe that we can make the money back again in some day, but we can't make people who died to come back again. I do understand that the company has the financial pressure from the stockholders, however, if today the person who fell off that ship is one of the stockholders's family, I don't think so that they will feel okay to make the same decision. 


I think the case is very well written. It provides enough material and statistical information to make it easy when we decide what should the company do to prevent this type of accidents, if the company has to address this problem. It is clear that this case needs to be though using ethical and financial reasoning to find the way to act if you were the owner of this company.