When people plan a vacation, they frequently take into consideration the crime statistics of their destination in order to make a choice that is comfortable for them. This often gets overlooked in booking a cruise vacation because of a perception that the cruise ship is inherently safer than other types of vacations. Due to the handling of crimes onboard a ship at sea, this often provides a false sense of safety that is not reflected in the actual crime statistics for cruise ships around the world.
Many cruise lines work hard to cover up the numerous crimes that take place onboard the ships. The knowledgeable and compassionate Miami cruise ship accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 130 years of collective experience in uncovering the negligence that often contributes to harm caused by criminal acts onboard these cruise ships.
The United States Congress now has moved to address the issue of criminal acts on cruise ships, with the charge being led by Democratic Congresswoman Matsui (6th Dist, California). One of the biggest issues surrounding cruise ship crime is that it is not reported in such a way that the average person contemplating a cruise can easily access the data. In addition, many of the crimes are not reported at all. Proposed legislation seeks to change that. The new law would transfer the reporting requirement from the United States Coast Guard to the Department of Transportation. In addition, there would be specific provisions for how the information would be reported and how often the database would be updated. The intent behind the change is to promote accuracy, ease of use, and transparency.
The new reporting guidelines would list the crimes by ship and cruise line and provide details about the crime, including whether the crime was committed by a fellow passenger, crew member, or other individual. This information would be provided for inclusion in the database even if there still were an active investigation.
Other key aspects of this new legislation include a requirement for increased surveillance onboard the cruise ships through the use of video cameras. Further, there are increased requirements for the notification of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for certain crimes. This is a critical improvement because of the way many investigations are handled on cruise ships that are sailing in international waters. In many cases, evidence is not recorded or preserved and it is very difficult to build a strong case when back on land. A requirement that the FBI is notified of about certain crimes provides greater chance for more thorough investigations.
Although victim advocacy groups like International Cruise Victims Association are very supportive of this legislation, cruise line groups, such as Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), claim that the legislation is unnecessary. In addition to claiming that crime is not common on cruise ships, a representative for CLIA claims that this simply imposes an unfair and unnecessary additional layer of bureaucracy. Despite opposition by some cruise industry groups, the legislation is anticipated to pass the Senate and become law.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano Advocates for Those Harmed by Cruise Line Negligence
Crime happens with great regularity on cruise ships, ranging from petty thefts to violent crimes. Many times, the cruise line covers up the number of crimes or reports them in such a way that passengers do not understand the danger. The South Florida cruise ship accident law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano was founded more than 30 years ago with a goal of uncovering the facts and obtaining justice for victims of negligence and other wrongful acts. Our diligence has been rewarded with an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, which is the highest peer rating that a firm can receive. Our firm also was voted one of South Florida’s top-rated law firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial appointment so that we start fighting for you.