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Senate Hearing Focuses on Cruise Ship Safety

During a recent hearing before the Senate, Laurie Dishman recalled her horrifying experience of being choked and raped aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise by one of the cruise line’s employees. Dishman shared her pain and humiliation during the 2006 attack, stating that cruise line staff were slow to act and discourteous in assisting her. Staff asked Dishman to collect her own evidence stemming from the attack and place it in trash bags. They did not transport her to the infirmary immediately, nor did they provide anti-retroviral medications. Our Miami cruise ship accident lawyers found that they did not even offer her another cabin in which to stay for the remainder of the cruise to Mexico. Dishman’s attacker was never arrested or tried in the U.S., despite an FBI investigation that ensued once the ship landed in the U.S.

In response to Dishman’s horror story and many others like it, Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced a bill last year to improve the safety of passengers on cruise ships. Senator Rockefeller believes the reason behind such attacks and accidents stems from a lack of oversight and accountability for the safety of passengers in the cruise industry. Rockefeller says that in spite of clear evidence of problems, including mechanical failures, crimes, drowning, and mishandled medical emergencies, occurring with regularity, the cruise ship industry continues to deny it has a problem.

The hearing held on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 was the second thus far, called to raise awareness to the problems plaguing the cruise industry and how the bill could address them. While cruise line officials appeared at the first hearing, none were present for the second.

Rockefeller stressed at the hearing that while the majority of cruise passengers will have a fun, safe time, the reality that some passengers are placed in peril necessitates instituting more protections. The tale of a young 15 year old girl with Asperser’s syndrome who was raped aboard a ship is one more example of why we need immediate reform. While aboard a holiday cruise in the Caribbean, the teen was raped by a juvenile and an adult. The attack took place during some of the supposedly supervised teen activities offered by the cruise line.

The bill put forth by a committee focused on cruise safety states that cruises need to make it clear to passengers what rights they have aboard the ship and what rights they are giving up before they purchase a ticket. They also need to present accurate information as to the safety of cruises. Last summer, some major cruise lines began voluntarily posting crime data online, but committee members and panelists feel this is not enough and more measures need to be put in place to protect passengers.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Championing the Rights of Cruise Ship Accident and Assault Victims

The numerous cruise ship accidents and assaults that occur each year highlight the need for increased oversight of cruise ships. If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, call the South Florida Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have zealously fought for the recovery of our cruise ship accident clients. Our unmatched dedication to our clients and the legal arena has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.

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