A fatal incident that shocked the shipping industry, was the Italian Costa Concordia that ran aground off Tuscany in January 2012, resulting to 32 people dying.
Keeping in mind that the cruise industry is expanding, many are the vessels that are now able to carry more than 5,000 people and crew. A striking example is Symphony of the Seas vessel, which is able to accommodate 5,518 passengers at double occupancy up to a maximum capacity of 6,680 passengers, as well as a 2,200-person crew. So, when the passengers are that many it is not easy to keep track of them, particularly in an emergency evacuation.
Thus, according to Euronews, the Lynceus project enables the crew to use a wireless network that covers the entire vessel and shows all the trackers on a computer screen.
Additionally, the system will also be able to track passengers that are missing at sea.
Antonis Kalis, Head of Research and Development at SignalGeneriX commented
Various cruise companies already provide electronic tools for their passengers so that they can make purchases or access their cabins. So we can integrate our tracking device in a key card or in a bracelet.
The developers highlighted that the tracking system will be only used in emergency situations, so passengers should feel safe concerning their privacy.
In addition, those participating in the project hope that it will be certified for commercial use in the future.
In an emergency, rescuers will be able to use handheld antennas, or fly over the area with drones or helicopters, sending signals that the smart life jackets would automatically pick up.
The system was tested as a part of an international maritime search and rescue exercise in Cyprus – Argonaut 2019. The drill simulated a major humanitarian operation in the Mediterranean Sea.