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Are Cruise Lines Doing Enough to Screen Employees?

When a person first boards a cruise ship, s/he is greeted by seemingly friendly and welcoming cruise ship employees who promise everyone an excellent time, regardless of how long they will be on board the ship. Many times, the crew is comprised of people from around the world, providing an international flare to the cruise, no matter where the ports-of-call are located. However, this diverse crew means that there may be people who are working on the cruise for the wrong reasons. Crime is a serious problem on board cruise ships and the vast majority of these crimes are not reported to the public.

Although there are conflicting reports about the number of serious crimes that happen on cruise ships, the fact is that passengers are seriously injured in violent crimes far more than most people realize. Sometimes, it is a crew member who attacks a passenger. With more than three decades of experience getting justice for clients, the Miami cruise ship accident lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to fight for you if you suffered harm while on a cruise.

It is difficult to fully grasp the extent of the problem with violent crimes because the information is voluntarily reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Of the information that is provided to law enforcement, a small fraction is released publically. As part of an investigation into crime on board cruise ships, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V) stated that there were approximately 960 crimes reported to the FBI from 2011 to 2013, but only 31 of these were actually released to the public. These sobering statistics demonstrate why most people assume it is completely safe to go for a cruise when there are many reasons to exercise caution. There is no strict reporting requirement because cruise ships are often registered outside the United State.

Many of the problems with the crew arises from the manner in which they are hired. Although the major cruise lines claim that they perform extensive background checks on their employees, the fact is that the process of looking into the background of crew members may be outsourced to other companies, many of which are located in foreign countries. Critics of the cruise industry claim that there may be some wrongdoing on the parts of the third-parties who allegedly reviewed the background details. In addition, a crew member who committed a crime in another country may be hired because there are no detailed records kept about many crimes in his country of origin. Some of the smaller cruise lines do not even perform criminal background checks.

In addition, the specific hiring criteria used to select new crew members is not readily disclosed by the various cruise lines and it does vary from company to company. It is true that if a cruise is disembarking from a port in the United States, the crew member will require the following:

• A C1/D visa – this usually means that the crew member had an interview with the embassy or consulate in his country. However, this type of visa often is viewed as having a less-rigorous screening process;
• A valid passport; and • Other documentation that may be used to evaluate the character of the crew member.

There will be a brief interaction with an agent from U.S. Customs and Border Protection when the person arrives in the country, but this interaction typically is not very extensive. The cruise line is in the best position to vet the employee and more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has a pleasant trip.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano Protects the Rights of Cruise Ship Victims

A cruise that is shattered by a violent crime will have life-long repercussions for the victim. At Greenberg Stone and Urbano, our South Florida cruise ship accident attorneys have more than 120 years of collective experience in fighting for the rights of those who have been harmed by negligence, including the negligent hiring of employees. Our firm has been voted one of South Florida’s top-rated law firms by the Miami Herald and we have received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell. In addition, we have been selected to join the prestigious legal society, Primerus. To schedule an initial case evaluation, call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website.

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