The Occurrence of Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships

100_0677Though they do not often make the news, crimes on cruise ships do happen. Sometimes said crimes are serious and life-altering, such as sexual assault. Sexual assaults are, unfortunately, not uncommon aboard cruise ships. Recently, 25-year-old Karen Seechurn pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the cruise ship cabin of a sleeping passenger and sexually assaulting her. In brief, Seechurn entered the victim’s cabin, groped her and threatened to burn the ship down if she told anyone of the incident. The cruise ship was reported as the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.

Again, sexual assaults aboard cruise ships are not uncommon. In 2014, alone, three of the leading cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian reported 18 cases of sexual assaults and 27 cases of rape against cruise ship passengers.    

Please note that cruise ships do not have law enforcement officials onboard. Yet, you are not without security personnel. Cruise ships employ other forms of security personnel who are typically trained to maintain the safety on cruise ships and to protect evidence of a crime. If you a rape victim of such an offense, it is critical that you report the incident to the FBI as soon as you reasonably can. Ask your cruise line to allow you to contact the FBI. Cruise lines are required to allow passengers to speak to the FBI upon request. Once reported, the FBI will investigate the incident. Of course, the cruise line will want to give the FBI their side of the story. Once your cruise ship has ported, you should visit the nearest rape treatment center.       

If you or a loved one is a victim of a crime, it is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney.  The Miami crime victim lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here for you. We are available at 1-877-475-2905 and/or at info@gslawusa.com.      

Victims’ Rights

Congress addressed the high occurrence rate of sexual assault on cruise ships when it passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (“CVSSA”). Said Act was put in effect to assist in making cruise ship traveling safer. The Act ensures that when sexual violence occurs, victims have quick access to medical attention, have a sexual assault forensic exam on board, and that a report is made to the authorities. The passenger rights guaranteed under CVSSA were intended to make cruise ship traveling safer.

The Act lists several victims’ rights that cruise ship passengers should be aware of. For one, victims are entitled to a security guide, which is a written summary that details who to speak with and where to go if a crime takes place. The security guide is required to include criminal law procedures for crimes that are committed in waters the vessel may travel during the voyage.  As noted above, victims have the specific right to a sexual assault forensic exam onboard the cruise ship. Cruise ships are required to have the proper equipment in the event that a sexual assault occurs. Additionally, victims have the right to confidentiality when they make a request and receive these support services. Any help or information requested or received during this process must remain confidential.

Take Action

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney. The Miami maritime lawyers are Gerson and Schwartz, PA are here for you. Call us today for a FREE consultation on your case. We are available at 1-877-475-2905 and/or at info@gslawusa.com. You will not owe any attorney’s fees unless we collect money on your behalf.

badges