When you fly on a commercial airplane, you have an expectation that the airline has met specific safety regulations. The same goes for a trip on an Amtrak train. However, such an expectation is absent, or at least should be, when you purchase a ticket on a cruise ship. Why? Because the cruise ship industry is an unregulated industry. This is extremely concerning to our team of cruise ship injury attorneys.
International Waters: Free For All
When a cruise ship visits a U.S. port, it must meet some regulations and is subject to inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, if you are taking a cruise that goes into international waters (e.g., cruise voyages to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, etc.) only the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has authority over safety and operational standards. The IMO is part of the United Nations and generally does not exercise strict regulatory oversight. In fact, the IMO has never ordered the docking of multiple ships based on safety concerns and it is unclear that it even has that authority, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.