As I had started to discuss in PART ONE, I was requested to appear as a maritime expert to answer questions regarding cruise ship safety and security. Also in attendance at these hearings were representatives from the United States Coast Guard and the FBI. When I spoke at Congress, I had the pleasure of meeting Kendall Carver, who also spoke to Congress addressing cruise ship safety and security. Mr. Carver had lost his daughter on board a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska in 2004. Her disappearance also remains unsolved, although Mr. Carver strongly believes she was the victim of criminal activity and a cover-up by the cruise ship company.
One of the main topics discussed at Congress was the lack of any requirements on the part of the cruise ship industry to report criminal activity on board their ships. Without mandatory reporting requirements, the public had not been aware of the prevalence of crimes that occurred on board cruises. Therefore, Congress became concerned with the inadequate information available to the public.
As a result of these congressional hearings, and continued efforts by Kendall Carver and his organization International Cruise Victims Association, legislation was passed called the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2010. The act requires mandatory reporting of criminal activity, which is to be made public. I am proud to know that I took part in this movement towards positive legislation, starting with the congressional hearings I attended with Mr. Carver.
Travelers can now get 1st comprehensive reports of cruise-ship crime, led by Phoenix man’s efforts is a recent article that anyone contemplating going on a cruise, or anyone who wants to know more about crime on board cruise ships should read. As set forth in this article, the statistics of the number of crimes on board cruises is eye-opening. It shows that there is serious criminal activity occurring on board these ships, and one must be very aware of this and very vigilant when traveling on board a cruise ship, especially with teenagers and minor children, in order to be safe.
Additionally, the article discusses the new reporting requirement. Before, only crimes no longer under investigation by the FBI were reported. The bottom line is that there is now more transparency with the cruise ship industry because of legislation that was enacted due to the movement initiated by tragedies such as the disappearances of George Smith and Kendall Carver’s daughter Merrian. I am very proud to have been part of it, and to have established a long-term friendship with Kendall Carver. He has done a tremendous job with the International Cruise Victims Association, and has been relentless in their pursuit for more safety laws and more stringent regulations for the cruise ship industry.
Again, cruise ship travelers should obtain these comprehensive reports of cruise ship crimes so they can be aware and act accordingly. If you or anyone you are traveling with is a victim of criminal activity, it is critical to report it immediately. I suggest that you do not rely solely on the cruise ship employees to report the crime to the United States authorities. It is important to ask questions to the cruise ship employees, including how to contact the United States authorities who might have jurisdiction over the crime.
Of course, you or your family members should not be the investigators. Simply be aware of the necessity of initiating a prompt and appropriate disclosure and reporting of the crime, so that a proper investigation is conducted and the appropriate individuals are criminally prosecuted. It is also helpful to consult a maritime attorney to consider any civil remedies you may have against the cruise line company for the harm they caused you.
Our maritime law firm has been serving as safety advocates for victims at sea for over 30 years. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime, we are available for a free consultation.