Want to commit the perfect crime? Take a cruise

If cruise ships are floating cities, where are the cops?

I’m not kidding about the city part. Some cruise ships feature neighborhoods and carry up to 9,000 passengers and crew. The captain is the de facto mayor.

I’m not kidding about the cops, either. There’s no sign of an independent law enforcement presence to protect the passengers and crew — regardless of the fact that all cities have crime, including the cities called cruise ships.

So, what happens when a crime occurs on a cruise ship? That was the question raised several weeks ago when a Carnival crew member was charged with molesting a teenage passenger.

Here’s what normally happens: The victim goes to the “security” department on the ship to report the crime. But, wait a minute! The security officers work for the cruise line, don’t they? Ultimately, they’re protecting their employer, not the passenger, right?

And it’s not at all like hotel security, which has only to pick up the phone and call the local police to take over and begin any necessary investigation. But you can rest assured that your ship security officer will be interested in getting a statement from you, especially if a crew member is involved in the incident so he can then write up a report and submit it to his boss, who then reports it to the FBI.

So far, the victim hasn’t dealt with the legal authority. Can you see where this is going?

Since the security person and the probable perpetrator both work for the cruise line, the victim is the outsider now. The cruise line is no longer your friend. Any statement you give will now likely be used to minimize your claim and maximize the cruise line’s impunity.

For instance, when someone reports a sexual assault or rape, many times a case is never opened, charges are never filed, as the incident is deemed consensual. Or it’s recast as a “he said/she said” case because of the way the cruise line reports the facts they have gathered to the FBI.

Cruise lines know the FBI will seldom investigate such cases. Additionally, your information is no longer confidential from the cruise lines and their lawyers.

In addition, a cruise line takes the legal position that they have no duty to even investigate a crime. In a legal memoriam of law, the legal position taken by Royal Caribbean stated as follows: “Courts have specifically held that no duty to investigate exists.”

What should happen when a passenger is a victim of a crime?

Some of the main provisions of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) legislation were designed to give victims certain rights and maintain the confidential nature of any information a victim gives in reporting their crime.

The CVSSA requirement is as follows:

Provide the patient free and immediate access to ‘‘(A) contact information for local law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Coast Guard, the nearest United States consulate or embassy, and the National Sexual Assault Hotline program or other third party victim advocacy hotline service;” and ‘‘(B) a private telephone line and Internet-accessible computer terminal by which the individual may confidentially access law enforcement officials, an attorney, and the information and support services available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline program or other third party victim advocacy hotline service.”

You can clearly see what a difference it might make if and when the FBI gets the report directly from the victim instead of getting the cruise line version of the crime.

Sadly, this legal right is very seldom, if ever, shared with the victim when they report a crime to the cruise line.

Of all the cruise ship crimes committed during a period between 2011-2012, a number totaling 563 (material obtained under the Freedom of Information Act), there were only four convictions reported by the FBI. Sounds like a cruise ship might just be the perfect place to commit a crime, doesn’t it?

It’s up to the passenger to insist on their legal rights, should they become the victim of a crime, and report the crime directly to the FBI and not to the security of the cruise ship, which does not have the authority and the best interest of the victim as their main concern.

Should cruise ships have police onboard?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook
About the Author
Kendall Carver is the co-founder of International Cruise Victims, a nonprofit that advocates for cruise passengers.
Posted in Cruise Rights Tagged , ,

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.