The Need for Independent Security Monitoring on Cruise Ships
International Cruise Victims (ICV) proposes that Independent Security Monitoringpersonnel be present onboard all cruise ships. With the cruise ships having their own security staff, you may question why this is necessary.
Following a number of high-profile reports, ICV has concluded that the onboard management (cruise line employees) is lacking in the prevention of incidents, and also subsequent responses to a number of incidents that have impacted their passengers and crew.
Our reasons for proposing an Independent Security Monitoring Force are as follows:
passengers and crewmembers.
The following details address the above issues:
Based on the outcome of many court cases, the cruise lines have maintained the legal position that they are under no obligation to investigate crimes that occur on their cruise ships. In other statements they have indicated that they do not have the technical expertise of a crime laboratory. On a voluntary basis, their only action is to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency, such as the FBI.
The cruise lines' stance for not investigating crimes appears to make a successful resolvement of an incident extremely difficult. Criminologists will tell you that the most important aspects of a successful are the proper collection of evidence and timely interviews of all potential witnesses.
With several thousands people in an isolated area, especially strangers, there isno questions that crimes will occur.This could be related to a town of several thousand residents having no police force to contact to immediately investigate any alleged crime or a missing person.
When the nearest enforcement agency, such as the FBI, is located hundreds of miles away at sea, this delays and inhibits any prompt investigation. In many cases, there have been significant delays in reporting missing passengers and/or or crimes against passengers and crewmembers. In addition, a recent front-page article of the January 20, 2007 issue of the Los Angles Times indicated that sexual crimes on cruise ships havebeen under-reported by, at a minimum, by one of the major cruise lines.
The reality of what is being reported is also being interpreted by the cruise industry to their advantage. The discrepancy in the reported numbers supports the need of Independent Security Monitoring personnel on board all cruise lines. It forces us to question the accuracy of any report issued by a cruise line, and surprisingly, even when the information is in response to questions posed by the U.S. Congress.
Convictions of criminal cases on cruise ships rarely, if ever, result in convictions. This is easier understood by the lack of any independent organization on board to investigate and prosecute crimes. Prompt action taken by Independent Security Monitoring personnel would help remedy this issue.
Thisemphasizes the real need to also introduce effective legislation by various national governments to protect their citizens, passengers and crewmembers onboard cruise lines. This need should include the publication of ACCURATE statistics to the public in the same manner that the cruise lines comply with the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and statistics of cruise ship illnesses. Public health inspections can be found on the CDCs public domain website of that US Federal organization.
Effective cruise ship security cannot be expected serve two masters. They cannot be expected to work and be financially compensated by the cruise lines, and at the same time, also be expected to aggressively protect passengers from crimes, etc. for which the cruise line would be held legally responsible.
5. With the added concern of terrorism, additional security is necessary to protect passengers and crewmembers.
In the October 16, 2006 issue of the Insurance Journal, titled, Maritime Terrorism Risk Extends to Cruise Ships and Ferry Boats, the article indicates that cruise ships and ferry boats need more protection against terrorist attacks that could kill and injure many passengers and cause serious financial losses. This conclusion is based on a new RAND Corporation report.
Focusing solely on securing the container supply chain without defending other parts of the maritime environment is like bolting down the front door of a house and leaving the back door wide open, said Henry Willis, a RAND researcher and a co-author of the report. The very logic of having Sky Marshals on airlines that carry a few hundred people calls for the same protection for cruise lines with thousands of passengers at risk.
In spite of this risk, the cruise industry was successful in lobbying Congress to give them a waiver that would have required all passengers that enter the US to have a passport in 2007. In other words, a passenger can board a cruise ship in Mexico or the Caribbean and enter this country with no passport. Any other person that enters the country on other forms of transportation is required to have a passport as of January 23, 2007.
In summary, and based on the above reasons, ICV aggressively suggests that independent security monitoring on board cruise ships is essential to protect passengers and crewmembers.
Citing concerns about their safety, many former passengers are now indicating that they will no longer take cruises as a traveling option. As a result, ICV believes that Independent Security Monitoring on ships will, in the long run, be beneficial for the cruise line industry. ICV has detailed proposals to address this matter, which may be viewed on the ICV website at www.internationalcruisevictims.org
Its time for a change!