Traveling on a cruise ship may be the idyllic vacation. However, passengers should walk on the gangway with open eyes. Ships may sail away from society but also carry its problems such as negligence, medical emergencies and crime. These vessels also have their own unique cruise ship accidents like passengers falling overboard.
Falling overboard and Passenger Illness
Passengers disappear from cruise ships. Reports show that 116 passengers were reported missing from cruises from 2011 through 2015. Ships are not immune from sickness. The relative proximity and close space may increase the spreading of flu and other contagious illnesses. Furthermore, physicians are less regulated because they may be licensed in any country or state.
Crime is not left on land
Crime is also a stowaway. Thieves steal personal belongings at poolside and other places. More serious crimes, such as sexual assault, are also committed. The often overly-excessive drinking among passengers can also lead to criminal activity. Six lines reported 102 crimes on their websites in 2011 involving five fatalities, 34 rapes, 29 sexual assaults, 17 assaults and 13 thefts of property worth more than $10,000. They also disclosed that four people fell overboard. Another report showed that there were nine rapes for every 100,000 individuals on cruise ships compared to 27.1 per 100,000 in the general population.Over 950 crimes were reported to the FBI from 2011 through 2017. Only 31 of those crimes were publicly reported, however, because many alleged offenses do not have to be disclosed at all. Cruise lines do not, for example, report thefts of property with a value below $10,000. Presumably, many passengers do not inform authorities about minor crimes because they feel nothing will be done.
Enforcement is inconsistent
Official law enforcement is not assigned to liners. Any enforcement is carried out by private security hired by the cruise lines. Criminal prosecution is also hampered because of the crews’ lack of investigative training and the failure to properly locate evidence. Jurisdiction usually rests in the next port of call where the ship docks. Enforcement is often inconsistent because the ship’s captain decides whether to incarcerate an alleged offender. The FBI will investigate an alleged crime involving a U.S. citizen but its intervention may be too late.
Moreover, the integrity of employees is not always assured because 14 percent of the lines do not perform background checks on their crews before hiring. A 2008 investigation found that there were 151 complaints of unwanted sexual touching or contact and 56 of these complaints involved a crew member. Cruise line negligence or recklessness may cause loss, injury or even death. Experienced cruise ship lawyers in Miami may help assure that cruise ship accident victims and their families can pursue their right to fair and just compensation. If you were injured by cruise line negligence, contact a cruise ship lawyer at the Miami Florida personal injury law firm of Gerson & Schwartz, PA who specializes in these cases. For a free case consultation, call 877-475-2905 today.