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There’s No Public Record of Most Crime on Cruise Ships

October 24, 2014 by The Parrish Law Firm

Crimes, injury and even death are not uncommon occurrences on cruises. One sad truth is that, sexual assaults on cruise ships have been a consistent problem. Sexual assaults are so much a problem that in 2010 Congress passed the “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010” (CVSSA) so that regulation of the Cruise Ship Industry would be increased. This Act requires companies to create policies to protect rape victims on cruise ships. It also mandates that cruise lines report serious crimes and missing persons involving U.S. citizens to the FBI. This information is then reported quarterly and viewable online on a website maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Within these reports, crimes are broken out by type and cruise ship. In days past, cruise ships voluntarily provided crime statistics to the FBI, but this information was not made public.

For many passengers, a cruise is a dream vacation. It is a vacation on a floating city full of exciting attractions and adventure for the whole family. However the dangers on a cruise ship can turn a dream vacation into a nightmare.

No Lifeguard is required

Currently there are no U.S. laws that apply to cruise lines regarding the swimming pools on cruise ships. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, death by drowning among children 1 to 4 accounts for more deaths than any other cause except birth defects. Cruise ships really are in essence, floating amusement parks – why aren’t they providing reasonable protection at their pools?

Disney Cruise Line has added lifeguards at all of its family pools and complimentary pool vests are now available on its pool decks to provide children with flotation devices. Disney cruise line stresses that these devices are not a substitute for life jackets or adult supervision.

To our knowledge no other cruise line has followed Disney. Carnival, which reportedly carries 700,000 children a year, the highest number in the industry, has no lifeguards.

Slip and Fall Accidents

There are many opportunities for passengers to experience slip and fall injuries. Most cruise ships have pools, dancing opportunities, restaurants, and the occasional slippery deck. Document an accident like this by taking pictures of the conditions that led to the injury, as well as photographs of the injury itself. Document whether or not there was satisfactory warning of the slippery condition

Food Poisoning

Bad food can be distributed and ingested quickly on a cruise ship. Terms and limitations printed on a passengers ticket may allow for refunds in the event of food poisoning.

Missing Persons

In 2011 and 2012 at least 41 cruise ship passengers were reported missing, according to the Cruise Victims Association. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act was signed into law in 2011, requiring ships to report all disappearances involving U.S. citizens to the Coast Guard and FBI.

Wrongful Death

Surviving family members are able to pursue lawsuits on the basis of wrongful death when the courts find the cruise ship operator “negligent”. Cruise ship deaths may be caused by suicide, accidental drowning, or foul play by another passenger or crew member.

Sexual Assault and Rape

Maritime law holds cruise ship operators liable for the intentional criminal acts of employees against passengers or other employees. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual assault should immediately notify the ships authorities, who are required to report all such incidents.

If you have suffered a cruise ship injury, be sure to document the incident and report it immediately to the ship authorities as soon as possible. You might want to consider speaking with a Maritime Lawyer if you wish to file an injury claim.

According to “Cruise Ship Crime,” which used FBI records acquired through Freedom of Information requests – of 959 total crimes reported to the FBI since 2011, only 31 were then reported publicly. That is only 3.2% of reported crimes.

Numbers are less skewed when crimes occur that cruise lines must report — violations like sexual assault and homicide— are considered, but things are still largely hidden from the public eye. 31 out of 130 serious incidents were made public that totals only 24% of incidents reported.

Why is there such a large gap? The report that Cruise Ship Crime released states that, it comes down to how the FBI reads the law: “The FBI interprets the CVSSA to require public reporting of only those incidents that are no longer under investigation by the FBI.”

The Parrish Law Firm Maritime Attorney works with northern Virginia citizens who have suffered from “Maritime “(Cruise Ship) Injuries and are looking for fair compensation for their suffering. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.

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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.

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