I’ve been handling maritime cases, mainly cases involving claims against the cruise ship companies involving all types of incidents, including sexual assaults, disappearances, slip and fall accidents, shoreside excursion problems, medical negligence, both for passengers and crew members, for over 30 years now.
When I first started doing litigation involving the cruise ship industry I realized how secretive the cruise lines were able to keep the problems aboard cruise ships. The cruise ship industry had been very successful in sweeping under the carpet major incidents that were occurring aboard the ship, including sexual assaults and other crimes.
The cruise ship industry grew enormously, and the ships continued sailing on the high seas, and the public relations departments for the different cruise lines worked hard to develop and maintain the image of carefree cruising, with nothing to worry about or be concerned about.
As incidents of crimes, especially sexual assaults, began to increase, and the industry blossomed, it then became too difficult to conceal all that was happening on the cruise ships.
Then came the disappearance of George Smith in 2005 during his honeymoon cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship the Brilliance of the Seas. This high profile case was the beginning of a movement for positive legislative changes to require the cruise ship industry to become more transparent.