Post Info TOPIC: Nov 2, 10 Are Cruise Ships Dangerous Spots? - Cyberpress Quebec, Canada

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Date: 11:45 PM Nov 3, 2010
Nov 2, 10 Are Cruise Ships Dangerous Spots? - Cyberpress Quebec, Canada

By André Désiront

English translation by MicroSoftTranslator.Com


Are cruise ships dangerous spots? In a testimony before a U.S. Senate Committee, an expert who feeds a blog under the name of Cruise Junkie (, Ross Klein, observed that recorded each year aboard cruise ships are:  56.9 sexual assaults per 100,000 passengers, two times higher than in the United States.

All offenses listed that could happen during a cruise, the most frequent are sexual assaults committed by employees of the ship against women travelling alone. Ross Klein, who is a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland, noted that members of the crew who are guilty of rape or sexual assault often come from countries where such acts are not considered serious crimes.

In addition, they know they will benefit from impunity on since, in most cases, when they learn that the crime has happened, cruise companies confine them disembark and return to their country. Often, they are rehired by the same company or a competitor a few months later. This is the reason why International Cruise Victims (ICV) calls for the convening of a register in which the names of the wrongdoing employee would be recorded. ICV accuses cruise companies of turning a blind eye, or even, in some cases, stifling the case to avoid bad publicity.

On his site (, Ken Carver provides dozens of testimonials of womens complaints of harassment or assault by other passengers, but by members of staff sometimes more often.

However, allegations of rape are difficult to prove, especially because the medical equipment of the ship does not include rape kits that would be intended to prove the crime occurred and uncover levies the alleged perpetrator.

In many cases, attackers are cabin or security staff members who hold master keys, allowing them to enter the cabin unchallenged.

In a lawsuit brought by a victim of rape in 1999, Carnival Cruise Line revealed that they had recorded 108 complaints of sexual assault from 1993 to 1998. In the same trial, Royal Caribbean reported 58 complaints during the same period. As many victims do not formally report such crimes, or are deterred from doing so, these numbers could probably be multiplied several times.

121 disappeared in 10 years

Disappearances at sea is another facet of the problem. According to figures compiled by Ross Klein, for the period from 2000 to 2009, 121 passengers disappeared during a cruise. These are naturally larger companies who register the number of disappearances: 37 in Carnival, 17 in Royal Caribbean, 10 in NCL and five in Princess. In 2009, there were 15 disappearances until now. Most of the time passengers go overboard, because they were drunk upon leaving the disco or the casino in the morning. Sometimes, these are women, victims of sexual assault who are later murdered by their assailant so as to ensure their silence. And it's sometimes killings with other motives.

A Senate Committee comes to recommend the adoption of the law by the U.S. Congress that includes requiring companies to equip their vessels with rape investigation kits, and to make public all records relating to crimes committed at sea.  

Among other measures, it provides that companies must post all their ships bridges with safety guards, and they need to build databases listing all employees who are guilty of sexual assault or theft.

International Cruise Victims was founded in 2004 by Kendall Carver, a businessman from Phoenix, whose daughter, Merrian Carver disappeared during an Alaska Cruise on a Celebrity Cruises ship. Among the other measures of protection claimed, the association advocates the creation of a private police force, and calls for the imposition of penalties for cruise companies that do not report crimes committed on board to appropriate authorities.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act has been prepared by a Committee chaired by Senator John Kerry, Democratic candidate for Presidency in 2004 (United States Senate, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure). 
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