People Are Freaking Out Over This Maritime Patrol Jet’s Low Pass Near A Cruise Ship

So apparently some of the intrepid cruisers aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s M/S Norwegian Breakaway were terrified when a French Navy maritime patrol jet, a Dassault Falcon 50 to be exact, did a few low flybys alongside the giant pleasure boat.  

A Marine Nationale Falcon 50 maritime surveillance aircraft like the one in the video., Arpingstone/wikicommons

The description under the YouTube video, which is titled “Near Miss,” is especially ridiculous:

“I have no idea what his intentions were, but I guarantee we all didn’t like it. Whoever was the pilot of the Falcon, was either a terrorist who was spying on us, marine training, or a dumbass rich dude who’s showing off his new aircraft. I don’t know what the true answer is but I know that it wasn’t normal and more than likely illegal for anything to be flying that close to a ship, especially 4 times in a row. Either way, nobody was hurt, but most were completely terrified, and I hope everybody is ok. The Video was taken on the Sundeck (Deck18) on the Norwegian Breakaway (NCL) on a 7 day round trip cruise from New York to Bermuda, at 4:30 PM at St. Gerorge, Bermuda June 24, 2016.”

News flash to all those adventurous cruisers out there, the rich ecosystem of territorial control, maritime surveillance, safe passage and pretty much everything else that goes on every day on the high seas does not stop for your entertainment cruise. If anything this should have been an exciting thing to experience, seeing a maritime patrol jet doing what it does, which includes protecting you and your disgustingly proportioned cruise liner (really the ship is pretty atrocious looking).

Lewis William Harris/Wikicommons

In fact, this isn’t a rare occurrence. I have been on quite a few cruises in the past and on a few of them we had maritime patrol aircraft check us out. We even had Greek fighter jets rip overhead one time. Everyone seemed to think it was neat and really unique stuff like this is what makes cruising a fun experience. Then again it has been years since I have ventured back onto the lavished seas so maybe in the post 9/11 world, one where everyone has a dedicated “safe place,” and anything people don’t immediately understand is deemed oppressive, this may no longer be the case. I find that sad.

The thing is that this is not just some random video that a kid threw up on YouTube, it was featured on many media outlets, including the notoriously wind-baggie morning cable news program Fox and Friends. The teleprompter reading talent said the jet almost hit the water slides and they acted taken aback and very concerned by what the video showed.

The two dimensional world of photography can be so hard to dissect sometimes right? Hardly! That jet didn’t come anywhere near those slides and posed no danger to that ship. But why analyze anything before putting it on the air right? The scary thing is that these are the people providing information to the mass public in a visual medium. But it is nothing new. How many times has the same program and others shared “incredible images” of “sonic booms” from air shows which are nothing of sort and are not even good quality images at that, but why even google it before running it right?

I am amazed that with all the information so easily at our fingertips today that people appear to be getting stubbornly dumber, not smarter. I addressed this recently when it comes to the media and gun control, but even small, simple issues seem to be a big challenge for many to get right these days.

The French Navy doing its job is just one more fake personal offense (also catch-phrased “micro-aggression”) that the ever more insular big media can play along with and parade in front of viewers eyes to fill airtime and get clicks.

A simple YouTube or google search would show up many similar occurrences that lacked the YouTube poster’s hyperbole-filled description and thus went unsyndicated all over the country.

Here is actually another perspective of the event in question and a description that tells us just how benign the Falcon 50’s little air show was:

“Captain Kate of Celebrity Summit came on the loudspeaker on June 24, 2016 saying there was a French Navy Jet that was doing drills and asked for permission to fly around our boat. We were just off of the coast of Bermuda. It was a really cool experience and thanks to Captain Kate, there was no confusion or worry about what was going on. The real story.”

In the end the media’s headline for this piece should have been: “French military jet gives cruisers impromptu air show,” not clearly embellished talk about how this was some sort of dangerous or mysterious encounter.

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler’s passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.