Rape and Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships

file7241281863954Instances of rape, sexual assault, and other sex crimes occur frequently on cruise ships. Just last year a cruise ship employee used a master key to enter the room of a female passenger. He hid on the room’s balcony until she returned. On her return to the room, she went to bed and was awakened by the intruder. The crewmember began choking her. The passenger fought for her life in every way she could by biting him and stabbing him with a corkscrew. The passenger was sexually assaulted, punched, and beaten with a laptop and a curling iron. She incurred brain injuries, fractures to her skull, spine, and face, and numerous bite marks. The crewmember even tried to snap the passenger’s neck. The crewmember tried to kill her. He became nervous when other passengers began knocking on the door and jumped off the balcony to the lower level in hopes of getting away. He was eventually caught.

Maritime law holds cruise lines strictly liable for the intentional, wrongful, and criminal acts of their employees. This includes rape and sexual assault. Rules of law governing conduct on cruise ships can be complex. To add to the complexities, cruise ships are governed by federal law, not state law, when the cruise ship is more than three nautical miles out at sea. If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime on a cruise ship, it is important that you seek the representation of an experienced maritime law attorney. The Miami, Florida maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz PA have experience filing claims against all the major cruise lines.

The Cruise Ship Vessel Security Act of 2010

Today, there are nearly 200 cruise vessels worldwide. On average, a cruise ship vessel carries 2,000 passengers and around 950 crewmembers. In the year of 2007, around 12,000,000 people worldwide were projected to embark on a cruise. While on a cruise, passengers are particularly vulnerable to crime. Those who are victimized on a cruise often lack the ability to understand their legal rights and do not know whom they should contact.  

To aid these crime victims, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 was signed into legislation by President Barack Obama. Per this Act, all cruise ship operators are required by federal law to file reports of all rape and sexual assault to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Homeland Security. Cruise lines are also required to maintain and report all sex crimes. The Act also imposes other safety and security requirements on cruise ship vessels. This list includes, but is certainly not limited to, sharing room key access logs, providing surveillance video and even keeping a rape kit along with supply of antiviral medications to help prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

Take Action if You are a Victim of a Crime on a Cruise Ship

Despite the existence of these safety measures, the laws governing cruise ships are complex and it is in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Florida maritime lawyer at Gerson and Schwartz PA. Our attorneys are at the forefront of assisting cruise ship passenger including cruise ship crime victims across the United States. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a rape, sexual assault, or other violent crime on a cruise ship, contact our law firm for a FREE consultation.

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