You may have read or seen those stories about cruise ship passengers disappearing or falling overboard or even being assaulted by crew members. Although the cruise industry has tried to play these stories down, we still hear about them.
The often overlooked fact is that cruise ships are literally floating population centers comprised of various people in different states of inebriation. Kendall Carver whose adult daughter mysteriously disappeared from a Celebrity cruise ship in 2004 says: “It’s like a town serving unlimited drinks with no police.”
Until recently, the United States government exercised little control over what happened on cruise ships, but with the spate of bad publicity things are starting to change.
In 2011, the FBI will finally get the jurisdiction it needs to investigate crimes that occur on ships which have docked at U.S. ports. Mediterranean cruises for example, are outside the purview of the FBI.
The new law, the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act of 2010, mandates the following:
* Peep holes and security latches on all passenger and crew doors
* Electronic video surveillance that documents crimes to be made available to law enforcement
* Passenger security guides with information on reporting crimes to U.S. law enforcement
* Limits on crew access to passenger cabins
* Staff with knowledge and equipment to perform rape exams
* Free and immediate access to law enforcement
* Prompt reporting of crimes, which must be contained in a log
The Sun-Sentinel reports reports that from December 2007 to October 2008, there were 363 incidents, mostly on board Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises, whose vessels largely depart from the Port of Miami or Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The new law, which was enacted over the strenuous objection of the cruise industry lobby, heralds the much needed realization that our government needs to do more to protect American citizens from becoming crime victims aboard cruise ships.
With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims
All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.