Recent news coverage of sexual abuse complaints and other criminal activity does not shine a glowing light on the cruise industry.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released a report under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) highlighting “alleged criminal activity” from July 1 – September 30, 2019.
You can read a part of that report here:
The report details occurrences of Homicide, Death, Missing U.S. Nationals, Kidnapping, Assault with Serious Bodily Injury, Firing or Tampering with Vessel, Theft Greater Than $10,000 and Sexual Assault.
While there were no reports of Homicide, Death or Kidnapping – reports of Sexual Assault were high were 35 reported incidences. *Note: as cruise ship injury lawyers who have been practicing for more than 35 years, this number seems low. Cruise lines have a reputation for being places where sexual assault and abuse occur with regularity – though reports of the incidents are often overlooked, dismissed or simply not reported.
And according to Fox News, the data demonstrate a 35 percent uptick in sexual assaults reported, compared to last quarter’s reporting, which spanned April 1 through June 30. During that time frame, 26 sexual assaults were reported across five cruise liners and a total of 32 serious crimes across all cruise lines.
Sexual Assault Claims on Cruise Ships – Just Another Number?
As we’ve noted on our website, quite often, these cases are covered up by the cruise line, their crew and their attorneys. Claims are marginalized. Importantly, victims are ashamed, embarrassed, afraid and unsure of what actions to take – which often leads to assault claims not being reported. The assaults are traumatic and the aftermath for the victim and their family can be equally traumatic, potentially causing lifelong mental anguish.
These are not just “numbers in a report” – these represent people who likely had a horrible experience.
Again, per the Fox News article:
“Carnival Cruise Lines had 20 reported sexual assault complaints: 17 allegedly involved passengers, one involved a crew member, and two were listed as “other.” Royal Caribbean had four sexual assault reports involving passengers; three allegedly involved crew members, and one was listed as “other.”
Carnival carries more passengers than any other cruise line, so it likely stands to reason their reported numbers are higher (both in terms of Sexual Assault and overall crime). It’s interesting to note that no crime at all was reported by various cruise lines during the reporting period – Crystal Cruise Line, Holland America Cruise Line, Oceania and Seaborn.
More Incidents or Just Required Reporting?
A statement from Carnival Cruise Line to Fox News reads:
“Nearly 90 percent of our capacity and operations are from U.S. ports which are covered under the reporting requirements of the CVSSA. Many of our U.S. competitors sail from Europe and other non-U.S. ports so they are not mandated to submit CVSSA data as part of the reporting process. In essence, we report a higher number of cruise operations than others because we have a much higher percentage of U.S. operations than others. Not because we have more incidents,” part of the statement read.
“We maintain a high level of security through an onboard uniformed security force who work in tandem with our shoreside security team which is made up of many highly experienced former law enforcement professionals. Carnival is also certified by RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.”
What is the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act?
The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) prescribes security and safety requirements for most cruise ships that embark and disembark in the United States. The Act (as amended in 2014) mandates reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of missing persons and certain alleged criminal activity occurring on board applicable cruise vessels.This quarterly report provides a numerical accounting of all incidents of missing persons and alleged crimes reported under the relevant provisions of the CVSSA without regard to the investigative status of the incident.
TheCruise Vessel Security and Safety Act is a law enacted in 2010 that was designed to improve the safety and security of cruise ship passengers. The act focuses on key issues including: the providing of transparent information, staff training and certification, victim privacy, proper record keeping, proper reporting, crime prevention and crime intervention.
Questions for a cruise ship injury law firm?
Waks and Barnett, P.A. has been privileged to represent cruise ship passengers from Florida, other U.S. states and many other countries whose lives have been changed by cruise ship accidents, medical issues and other forms of personal injury.
Our experience and familiarity with the litigation tactics of the cruise lines, insurance companies and other groups gives us a unique opportunity to achieve the best results for our clients.
If you or your relatives have questions or wish to speak to us about a potential claim, please call us at this toll-free number: 1-800-905-2891.