Sexual assaults on cruise ships occur far more frequently than the cruise lines would like passengers and potential passengers to know. According to recently released data from the FBI, the number of reported sexual assaults on cruise ships so far this year is 39, which represents a 550% increase from just six reported in 2015. In addition, other reported crimes on ships have also increased 408% to 61 from 12.
Again, these figures reflect actual reports and not just events, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is now tracking and reporting this data by cruise line and not by individual ship, in accordance with new laws passed in 2014. The new laws also will facilitate victims’ speaking with the FBI while still on board ship.
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As soon as the new reporting standards went into effect, the numbers increased. According to USA Today, the FBI reported that 177 of the 563 crimes occurred aboard Carnival cruise ships. By contrast, Carnival reported on its websites a total of 47 crimes. The new data is reported on nine different cruise lines: Carnival, Celebration, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, Mediterranean Shipping, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.
A pending bill in the House of Representatives would require cruise lines also to report crimes to the FBI within four hours of the alleged incidents, as well as guaranteeing passengers access to on-board CCTV footage, which would prevent cruise lines from destroying key evidence of crimes and other incidents. Additionally, the bill, if passed, will stipulate improved standards of onboard medical care that will help investigators understand any loss of life.
As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, I personally advocate for passenger safety and routinely sue cruise lines on behalf of people who have been injured while on a cruise ship. Such legal representation is very specialized in that it requires that the cases be filed in Federal Court. Lawyers who sue cruise lines must have a profound understanding of international law, maritime law, and personal injury.
Based upon my 25 years of experience representing passengers who, I believe the above proposed legislation would significantly improve passenger safety, as the 2010 law applies only to cruise ships that leave from US Ports. The major cruise lines skirt the requirements as they are flagged under a variety of foreign jurisdictions like the Bahamas, Panama, Bermuda, Italy, Malta and the Netherlands–even though they maintain their corporate headquarters, for the most part, in Miami, Florida.
If you have been injured while on a cruise ship, it is important that you consult as soon as possible after the incident with an experienced maritime personal injury lawyer. Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers have nearly 30 years of combined experience suing Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, Norwegian, Celebrity, and other cruise lines when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.
Accidents on Cruise Ships
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